Illegal butchers get the chop

Posted by James Ferre on 9th October 2009

A NSW Government crackdown on illegal “backyard ” meat processors in Sydney has today shutdown seven unlicensed operators from selling high-risk smallgood products.

Inspectors from the NSW Food Authority targeted illicit meat processors, issuing prohibition orders and confiscating almost 120 kilograms of homemade nem chua – a Vietnamese-style fermented pork mince.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said that it served as a warning to anyone happy to flout the law.

“The Food Authority made ten seizures of the pork product from various illegal processors operating from residential premises that were being sold to butchers’ shops, restaurants and private consumers,” Mr Macdonald advised. “The operation began in March and is ongoing, it puts on notice people who think they can flout the law by producing potentially dangerous food products from residential premises and unlicensed factories.”

“Fermented meats are high-risk products because if they are not prepared carefully under strict safety conditions they can be a serious health risk. That is why smallgoods and ready-to-eat meat processors require a licence and to observe a rigorous food safety program that is regularly audited by the Food Authority.”

Backyard operations do not have the systems in place to minimise health risks to consumers, Mr Macdonald added.

“The Government is committed to ensuring food production is properly licensed and audited and we’ll crack down hard on those who think they can cut corners,” he said. “Laws already in place mean anyone caught processing meat for sale illegally can face a fine of $55,000 for an individual or up to $275,000 for a corporation.”