Image source, West Mercia Police
Image caption, Garry Jones admitted sabotaging the products at Harvey & Brockless, in Evesham, last year
By Caroline Gall
BBC News, West Midlands
A factory worker who put plastic bags, rubber gloves and ring pulls in food destined for Nando’s and The Ivy restaurant chain has been jailed.
Garry Jones “knowingly and maliciously” contaminated the products while working at a Worcestershire food manufacturer.
He admitted contaminating goods supplied to The Ivy Group and Nando’s hummus. He was jailed for three years.
Manufacturer Harvey & Brockless said no products that were tampered with in October 2022 reached “end” customers.
The 39-year-old was a “picker” at the firm in Evesham and responsible for collecting the required ingredients for the next day’s cooking, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
But from 28 October last year, the company was made aware dozens of its products which are supplied to restaurants across the country had been contaminated with the gloves, plastic bags and metal ring pulls.
Image source, CPS
Image caption, Rubber gloves were found in some food products
An internal investigation revealed other boxes had also been tampered with, leading to the firm concluding an employee was responsible and police were alerted.
The use of a metal detector on products before they left the kitchen area meant any contamination could not have taken place during production and must have occurred in the storage area of the factory, the CPS said.
CCTV cameras inside the factory went to show Jones, from Larch Road, Evesham, deliberately tampering with tubs of hummus and salad dressings when he was alone.
He was arrested on 10 November and questioned by West Midlands Police, where he later admitted to officers he had combined fish sauce with soy sauce on one occasion.
Harvey & Brockless has said the vast majority of the products involved did not reach their destination, adding “any items that did were quickly returned before reaching the end consumer”.
“This swift action meant all end consumers were fully protected from any contaminated products,” it added.
Image source, CPS
Image caption, Manufacturer Harvey & Brockless said no products that were tampered with between 1 October and 1 November 2022 reached end customers
Following the incident, the manufacturer said it had invested in extra CCTV cameras to ensure all areas were “fully covered”.
Mehree Kamranfar, senior crown prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said the case was “extremely disturbing” and could have had had far-reaching implications had Jones not been caught.
“Jones knowingly and maliciously contaminated food products that were going to be distributed to some of the most popular high street restaurants across the country.
“The cross-contamination caused alarm both within the company and externally, as Jones’s utter disregard, particularly in mixing fish sauce with raw ingredients, could have threatened serious harm to those with allergies.
“In addition, sabotaging the food products supplied by Harvey & Brockless not only cost the firm thousands of pounds, it also threatened to destroy the company’s reputation.”
Jones was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment for contaminating goods, and nine months to run consecutively for a charge of burglary after he admitted breaking into a colleague’s house through a window and stealing a pink hairbrush.
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