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Butcher accused of selling turkeys unfit for human consumption days before Christmas

Colin Blain is further charged with not managing his refuse storage area in such a way to keep it free from animals and pests

The Lane Butchers

Christopher WoodhouseSunday Life

A butcher has been charged with selling turkeys unfit for human consumption just days before Christmas.

Colin Blain, who runs The Lane Butchers in east Belfast, faces a total of six charges under food hygiene laws.

Court documents say that on December 22 last year he was selling 91 turkey butterfly breasts that were deemed to be unfit for human consumption.

Blain is also accused of failing to protect a consignment of “North Down Oven Ready Turkeys” that were found in crates at the rear of his shop from contamination that was likely to render them unfit for human consumption or injurious to health.

He is further charged with failing to have suitable temperature-controlled handling and storage conditions for maintaining raw turkeys.

It is additionally alleged that Blain did not have proper systems in place to identify the supplier of the consignment of turkeys when asked by officers from Belfast City Council.

He is further charged with failing to keep his Orangefield Lane shop clean and in good repair, and with not managing his refuse storage area in such a way to keep it free from animals and pests.

The case against Blain is due to be mentioned at Belfast Departmental Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

When contacted by us, he said he did not wish to comment on the case.

Over the last festive period, the butcher’s shop was praised for providing free food parcels to people in need in collaboration with Strand Presbyterian Church, according to a post on the shop’s Facebook page, but there is no suggestion any of these are the subject of the court case.

It is not the only big-hearted act of generosity to the locals in the Orangefield district of east Belfast by Blain and his business.

In July last year, the shop distributed free ready-meals to elderly residents, while in December 2021 the business announced it would help those struggling during the festive period thanks to a selfless donation by customers.

A post on its Facebook page said: “At this time of year, lots of families struggle.

“Three very kind and generous ladies have donated their Spend Local cards to us so we can help anyone who is finding it difficult at the moment.

“If you know someone who would benefit from a little help, send a message to our Facebook page and we will get back to you.”

The Scores on the Doors food hygiene rating for the premises is three out of five, with the food hygiene and safety deemed to be generally satisfactory following an inspection in February 2022.

However, it has a five out of five rating on Google reviews based on comments left by 15 happy customers.

One satisfied punter wrote: “Great wee butcher’s shop. Selection of meats always good quality and well-priced, very important in these days. I’m a country girl at heart and love the friendly, personal service from all the staff. Congratulations guys.”

Another customer posted: “It’s the place to go if you want great meat with excellent service. Really great range to choose from.”

In the month leading up to Christmas, the shop was offering a Christmas hamper priced at £59.99 that included a 6lb turkey, with the option of having it stuffed.

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