An organic farmer behind the prestigious Daioni milk brand has pleaded guilty to contravening food standard regulations after bovine TB devastated his milking herd.
Laurence Richard Harris was ordered to pay £4015 in fines and costs at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Monday (March 15) after pleading guilty to failing to comply with regulations as food business operator at Ffosyficer farm, Abercych in Boncath on December 22, 2008.
Food Standards Agency prosecutor Mr Howells told the court on December 18, 2008 a herd of 1000 milking cows at Harris' farm were tested for bovine tuberculosis (TB) and over 200 cows tested positive.
In the following days Harris was told the milk was unfit for human consumption. On Monday, December 22 an important meeting was held with Harris and an animal health officer and the 62-year-old was 'unequivocally told not to distribute the milk' and a list of the affected cows was given to him.
Son Tom Harris said they could not afford to lose the milk as they would not be compensated.
That evening 10,670 litres of milk, unsuitable for human consumption, was collected.
Defending solicitor Chris James said it posed no risk to humans as the milk would have been heat treated.
Milk Company Omsko removed the milk from the food chain.
Mr James said Harris had told the milk company about the positive TB results and Harris accepted a 'list of sorts' of the affected cows had been issued to him on December 22, 2008.
Mr James said: 'No one expected the scale of the outbreak.
'They felt at the time they had done all they could maybe in hindsight they could have done a bit more.
'Sadly they were victims of circumstance.'
Mr James said there was lack of overall control between all the agencies involved and the outbreak had 'came as a devastating blow to the family.'
The court heard how the Harris family had been breeding their milking herd for over 65 years and the whole herd was destroyed following the outbreak of TB and the calve stocks were also taken for slaughter.
'In affect over nine days that element of their business was completely wiped out.'
'Not only has it been a financial blow it also been extremely hard for the family who are very upset and redundancies have inevitably followed,' Mr James added.
No dairy production has taken place at the farm in the past 15 months.
Mr James said Harris had fallen foul of regulations when the farm was in a state of chaos.
The presiding magistrate said they had taken into consideration the lack of guidance Harris had received He ordered Harris to pay a £500 fine and £3500 towards the costs of the Food Standard Agency and a £15 victim surcharge.