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Listeria-infected crabmeat sentence welcomed by county council

The court sentence against the Pembrokeshire couple convicted of selling crabmeat which contained up to 30 times the legal level of listeria has been welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council’s environmental health department.

Colin and Donna Brown operated their dressed crab and lobster company from a property in India Row, Monkton after purchasing the fresh meat from local fishermen in Milford Haven.

Despite numerous visits and statutory notices served by the local authority’s Environmental Health officers, the Browns ignored the warnings and continued selling the affected crabmeat throughout South Wales.

Last week Colin and Donna Brown were dealt suspended prison sentences by Swansea Crown Court after pleading guilty to four offences of failing to comply with food safety legislation and deliberately breaching the statutory notices.

They were also served with orders prohibiting them from managing a food business indefinitely.

The court heard that the council had served remedial action notices preventing the business from producing and supplying seafood to other businesses in April 2021.  But three months later, they were continuing to supply their produce to food premises in Pembrokeshire and further afield in south Wales.

Environmental Health officers contacted the businesses that were supplying the products and ensured that they were removed from the market.

As result of the offences, Colin Brown was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Donna Brown was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years, with 15 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

Both were served orders prohibiting them from managing a food business indefinitely.

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Commenting on the sentence, Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet member Cllr Michelle Bateman, said she was ‘reassured’ that the court had imposed significant sentences.

“These two people deliberately continued to run this business. despite being subject to notices served by officers of the Council to protect the safety of consumers,” she said.

“The offenders had a flagrant disregard for the health of any person who ate their products, despite being aware of the history of contamination of their products with listeria monocytogenes.

“They also disregarded the prohibitions placed on them by the Authority and had inadequate controls in place to prevent products from being contaminated with this highly concerning bacteria.

“The Public Protection Department of Pembrokeshire County Council is determined to ensure that individuals who commit serious offences or display a blasé approach to comply with food safety and standards requirements are brought to justice.

“The department is also committed to ensuring compliance to protect the health of people eating products produced and sold by Pembrokeshire-based businesses.”