Two farmers appeared in Craigavon courthouse late last week, charged with not keeping their farms clean enough. The two dairy farming brothers then received fines in excess of €820, as reported by fwi.co.uk.
The farmers, Brothers Selwyn and Martin Ball from Dromara in County Down, appeared in court after they were inspected by the Department of Agriculture. That investigation, by the departments Agri-food inspection Branch, found that the farm was not up to code hygiene-wise and this resulted in the issuing of a Remedial Action notice(RAN) on the farm.
The two brothers were set for more trouble though, as on September 7th it was found that they had breached four RANS, under the Food Hygiene Regulations of 2006. This led to the brothers pleading guilty to one charge.
The inspections found that the brothers had not kept their dairy pest proof nor protected. While it also found that the exterior of the bulk tank was not kept clean and It also found some items on the tank lid, which shouldn’t be present in a dairy.
The inspection found that collection areas on the farm were also overly dirty and the brothers were then ordered to pay an offender's levy for their hygiene failings. The brothers were found to have various hygiene breaches, while the case was brought against them by the Food Standards Agency. They warned future offenders that if they fail to meet hygiene standards, they risk a fine.
The brothers, Martin and Selwyn, were ordered to pay the fine (€820), and ordered to clean up their premises. The FSA in NI say there are reading materials available to help farmers improve a farm’s hygiene and said incidence of this non-compliance is rare.
“On the rare occasions something like this gets to court, it is either because the farmer has been particularly obstinate, or more likely because their circumstances mean they are so stretched they just can’t keep on top of everything.”, the spokesman said.