A meat distributor supplied chicken to takeaways across South Wales from a filthy, unregistered processing plant where he used Y-fronts as cleaning rags.
Kamran Ajaib ran his business, Hamza Poultry Ltd, from a warehouse on a Bristol trading estate, selling tonnes of meat to takeaways in Caerphilly, Cardiff and Swansea.
At Bristol Crown Court he pleaded guilty to 18 food hygiene offences, including failing to register the business and operating a meat cutting plant without approval.
The makeshift butchers had no wash handbasin or knife steriliser and placed poultry on the market which did not carry the appropriate health mark.
Other defects included:
:: Toilets in the same room as the equipment washing facilities;
:: Heavy residues of chicken flesh in the interior parts of the band-saw;
:: Walls, floors and ceilings in poor condition; and
:: Car tyres stored in the cutting rooms.
A further charge related to the misuse of another company’s health-mark when selling poultry meat.
Councillor Guy Poultney, of Bristol council, said: “This was an extraordinary case. The company was selling sub-standard food over a huge area to restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets that were unknowingly serving it to the public.
"They were running a large scale illegal operation that put the public and local businesses at risk. Conditions on the premises were frankly unbelievable.
“Our Food Team will always support legitimate food traders in any way we can. This major, multi-faceted operation has demonstrated Bristol city’s willingness and ability to work with a number of agencies and other authorities in investigating serious offences and bringing rogue traders to justice.
"Businesses should always beware of dodgy traders cashing in on the recession by offering cheap meats, and to only buy from recognised reputable sources.”
Bristol council, working with councils in Wales, launched an investigation after a customer found a piece of wire in chicken from a takeaway.
The meat was tracked to Hamza, who was found to be advertising openly on specialist catering websites for 1,000kg minimum orders.
The warehouse was raided in May last year and all the meat was seized.
Analysis showed at least 20 tonnes of chicken and beef was processed every week and sold across a wide area along the M4 and M5 corridors, in South Wales, Bristol, Swindon, Forest of Dean and Gloucester.
John Barrow, principal environmental officer for Bristol council, said: “We found four tonnes of chicken and beef in a unit which though in an unfinished state was in daily use as a poultry cutting plant.
"The premises were in a very poor state and with serious hygiene defects, which would have precluded the company from being approved as a cold store or cutting plant, had they applied.”
At court this week, Ajaib pleaded guilty to nine charges on his own behalf and indicated guilty pleas on behalf of the company to a further nine similar charges.
He has been ordered to return to court on October 15 for sentencing.