E.coli butcher 'sold rotten meat for years'

A butcher at the centre of a fatal E.coli outbreak which claimed the life of a five-year-old boy sold rotten meat for years before the tragedy, an inquest heard today.





Mason Jones, of Deri, near Bargoed, lost his life to the deadly food poisoning bug which struck 44 schools in the South Wales valleys.



The outbreak, in September 2005, had become the second biggest to hit the UK by the time it ran its course.



Mason's mother Sharon Mills sobbed repeatedly today at the inquest into his death in Newport.



The coroner's court also got an insight into chronically lax hygiene practices at the butcher business which triggered the outbreak.



John Tudor and Son, based at Bridgend Industrial Estate, supplied meat to dozens of schools and residential homes for the elderly.



Company boss and owner William John Tudor, 58, of Cowbridge, South Wales, was jailed for one year at Cardiff Crown Court in September 2007.



Tudor admitted six counts of placing unsafe food on the market and one of failing to protect food against the risk of contamination.



The inquest today heard he habitually lied to the authorities about his practices and falsified records - two months at a time.



His underhand practices were so habitual he literally used to pass off mutton as lamb to his customers.



Detective Superintendent Paul Burke headed a criminal inquiry after the firm was pinpointed as the source of the outbreak.



He said staff at the firm were interviewed about hygiene standards during the inquiry.



"A number of people told me in interview about meat that was smelling or poor and when brought to Mr Tudor's attention they were told to put it in the faggots," he said.



"When meat was turning yellow they were told to 'mince it up' and put it in the faggots."



The idea being that because faggots were spicy they would hide the taste of the meat.



He added: "Mutton was literally passed off as lamb."



The firm would buy frozen New Zealand mutton and sell it on to customers as Welsh lamb.



False batch numbers linking it to a legitimate farm in Abergavenny were used to hide its origin.



He said that according to staff at the firm, disregard for hygiene rules had gone on for years.



It was not known whether any of the affected schools ever received the faggots or mutton.



Equally, it was not possible to tell whether the factory had caused other E.coli or food poisoning outbreaks in the past.



He said Tudor was well aware of safe hygiene practice because he had successfully sat a grade three hygiene diploma in 2002.



But some staff members were found to have never attended even basic hygiene courses, despite the need to do so.



It was also found his factory's only vacuum packing machine was "not fit for purpose" and was used for both raw and cooked meats.



A "dirty old brush and container of water" was used to clean the machine between different users; often it was not cleaned at all.



Cooked and raw meats were stored together and decomposing meat was discovered in a fridge section at the factory.



Meat seized from the operation was found to contain an identical E.coli O157 strain as the one that killed Mason.



The same strain was found at a Welsh farm where the meat originated and an abattoir where Tudor bought the meat.



Mr Burke stressed that a certain percentage of healthy cattle carry the strain of E.coli without harm to them.



But the fact it could prove deadly to people, particularly children and elderly, underlined why basic hygiene was necessary.

Suggested Topics
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn