Cwmbran butcher prosecuted for food hygiene offences

Posted on: Friday 20 October 2023

A Cwmbran butcher has pleaded guilty to three food hygiene offences.

During a routine food hygiene inspection of Douglas Willis butchers at 2 Llanyravon Square, Cwmbran in August 2022, Torfaen Council’s Environmental Health Officers discovered a vacuum packing machine being used on the premises to package raw and cooked meats.

Due to the serious risk of cross-contamination posed by the use of the vacuum packing machine, officers took immediate action to require the business to prohibit this practice to protect public health. The business subsequently procured another vacuum packing machine to separately package raw and cooked meats.  

Appearing at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court on 19 October 2023, Peter Willis, the Managing Director of Douglas Willis Retail Limited, pleaded guilty to exposing food to a risk of contamination, failing to supervise staff, and failing to implement adequate food safety control measures. In acknowledgment of the guilty pleas, the Court reduced the fine for each offence from £450 to £300. Mr. Willis was also ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £1,713.33and a victim surcharge of £360, amounting to a total of £2,973.33.

The court was told a set of circumstances involving the use of a vacuum packing machine for raw and ready to eat foods led to an outbreak of E coli O157 in South Wales in 2005, which resulted in more than 150 people contracting food poisoning and sadly the death of a child.

Councillor Mandy Owen, Executive Member for Environment said: “It’s a cliché, but it’s more down to luck, rather than judgement, that officers did not receive reports of serious illness from people having consumed vacuum packaged meats from the premises.

“The risks associated with using a single vacuum packing machines for packaging raw and cooked foods is well documented, with the Food Standards Agency publishing extensive guidance on controlling cross-contamination, so there is no excuse in this case.

“I would encourage new or existing food businesses operating in Torfaen, who have food safety queries to seek advice from the Council’s Public Protection service."

To find out more about food hygiene, contact Torfaen Business Direct on 01633 648735 or

Last Modified: 20/10/2023 Back to top