12 May 2000
Hygiene service vet ‘assaulted’
By Alistair Driver
THE Meat Hygiene Service is investigating an alleged assault on a vet at the centre of the controversial closure of a Hereford lamb processing plant.
The Mead Webber meat plant at Eardisley, which processed 350,000 lambs a year, closed at the end of last month with the loss of 42 jobs.
Its owners blamed the actions of Richard Turner, an Exeter-based vet contracted by the MHS to inspect the plant, for forcing it out of business.
The MHS confirmed it was investigating allegations that Mr Turner was assaulted by one of the plants owners.
After he took over MHS duties at the plant, Mr Turner imposed restrictions that cut throughput from 250 lambs/hour to just 85.
He also gave the plant an unofficial hygiene assessment score (HAS) score of 60. This followed five years during which the plant achieved scores of 75-85.
The MHS said an independent inquiry would take place into the circumstances leading to the closure of the Mead Webber plant.