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'Dirty' Colne dairy farm forced to close
10:30am Saturday 16th February 2013 in Pendle
A DAIRY farm condemned as 'dirty' has been forced to close.
An emergency closure order has been served on Hubbs House Farm in Southfield Lane, Colne, amid public health fears after milk pasteurising equipment was covered with slurry.
Milk churns, fridges and sinks within the dairy were also spattered with potentially-dangerous filth, a court was told were told.
Reedley magistrates agreed to an emergency prohibition order, banning milk production at the farm, which has bottled its own produce for at least 40 years.
Farm boss John Leslie Allison, now in his mid-60s, who mainly supplies milk in bulk to other firms and not directly to houses, was fined £3,000 in 2010 over the state of his dairy.
Environmental health officer Susan Marshall said she visited Hubbs House after the latest concerns were raised by Colin Barton, a county council animal welfare officer.
In company with Mr Barton, she visited the farm on January 31 to inspect the dairy and was greeted by slurry three-inches deep in the farm yard.
The slurry was draining into the dairy, at the far end of the farmyard, which alarmed the environmental health officer.
One of the milk pasteurisers was so caked in filth that it was impossible to read the temperature dial on the equipment.
She added: “The floor of the dairy was covered in slurry which could get into the containers. It was just not fit conditions to be pasteurising what we consider to be a very high-risk product.”
The officer told the court that she visited the premises on Wednesday and it appeared Mr Allison had removed all livestock from the farm.
Mrs Marshall said: “I think he has struggled to cope and we have exhausted ways of getting him help. This would have been a large amount of work, running the farm, never mind for just one person.”
Mr Allison did not attend court and was unavailable for comment.
Speaking after the case, Coun John David, the borough council’s environmental health lead, said: "I am very pleased that the court recognised the seriousness of the conditions found by our environmental health officer and supported the action on closing the premises.
“Consumers quite rightly have an expectation that food is safe to eat and produced in hygienic conditions.
“As a council, we take food safety very seriously and view it as a priority. Our environmental health officers will not hesitate to use legal powers to protect our residents where this is felt necessary.”