Black market butchery operation shut down
A black market meat operation has been shut down after Ministry for Primary Industries officers inspected a farm at Atiamuri in the central North Island.
Waikato/Bay of Plenty compliance manager Brendon Mikkelsen says the inspection led to the execution of a search warrant and the seizure of 22 freshly processed sheep.
Also seized was several thousand dollars associated with the alleged offending.
"This operation involved the processing and sale of sheep, cattle and goats over a number of years," Mr Mikkelsen said.
"The operator is likely to face prosecution. MPI has a low tolerance for any black market butchery operations."
A week ago, an illegal home kill operation selling to more than 100 customers in the greater Auckland region was shut down.
Mr Mikkelsen said members of the public were urged to source their meat from regulated outlets.
He said this was particularly the case in the lead up to Christmas, when illegal meat operations were traditionally more prevalent.
"There's a very serious public health component to our interest in ensuring people comply with the law," he said.
"We have a duty to protect the public from the threat of various food-borne illnesses associated with illegal, unregulated meat."
He said offenders could face a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $100,000.