​Factory worker who contaminated food destined for Nando's jailed

​Factory worker who contaminated food destined for Nando's jailed

Posted by Emily on 17th Oct 2023

A factory worker who deliberately placed foreign objects such as plastic bags, rubber gloves, and ring pulls in food products bound for Nando's restaurants has been incarcerated.

Garry Jones, during his employment at a Worcestershire food manufacturer, committed these acts "knowingly and maliciously," tainting various food items. His tampering activities involved adding the aforementioned objects to hummus and salad dressings.

Heidi's Red Lentil Hummus (23257726531) jules, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jones acknowledged his role in contaminating goods meant for Nando's, leading to his three-year imprisonment. The manufacturer, Harvey & Brockless, clarified that due to vigilant quality control, none of the tampered products from October 2022 ultimately reached the "end" consumers.

Serving as a "picker" at the Evesham-based firm, the 39-year-old Jones was in charge of assembling ingredients for subsequent cooking processes. However, starting from 28 October the previous year, the company identified dozens of its food products—distributed nationally—had been compromised, containing gloves, plastic bags, and metal ring pulls.

This discovery, following an in-depth internal analysis, indicated tampering by an insider, prompting a police intervention. Advanced metal detectors employed during the production phase ruled out in-process contamination, pointing instead to the factory's storage area, as detailed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Factory-installed CCTV footage later captured Jones, a resident of Larch Road, Evesham, purposely adulterating batches of hummus and salad dressings in solitude. His subsequent arrest on 10 November by West Midlands Police led to a confession where he also divulged mixing fish sauce with soy sauce in a separate incident.

In a reassurance to the public, Harvey & Brockless stated that most compromised products were intercepted before delivery, with the remainder promptly recalled before any possibility of consumer access.

"The rapid response effectively safeguarded all end consumers from exposure to the contaminated products," the company affirmed.

In the aftermath, additional security measures, including expanded CCTV coverage, have been implemented by the manufacturer to maintain comprehensive surveillance.

The case, labeled "extremely disturbing" by Mehree Kamranfar, a senior crown prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, could have had extensive repercussions if Jones's actions had gone undetected.

"Jones's conscious, malicious interference with food items, intended for nationwide distribution to renowned restaurants, sparked significant concern," Kamranfar stated.

She emphasized the potential health hazards, especially from Jones mixing fish sauce with other ingredients, posing severe risks to individuals with allergies.

"Beyond immediate health risks, the sabotage perpetrated against Harvey & Brockless's supplies resulted in substantial financial losses and could have irreparably damaged the company’s standing in the industry," she added.

Concluding the legal proceedings, Jones received a 33-month sentence for the contamination offenses, coupled with a consecutive nine-month term for burglary. The latter charge stemmed from his confessed unlawful entry into a coworker's residence, where he stole a pink hairbrush, accessed via a window breach.