Garry Jones worked as a late-night picker for Evesham-based Harvey & Brockless Fine Food Company when the tampering occurred.
The food company was informed that dozens of its products had been contaminated with items including rubber gloves, plastic bags and metal ring pulls.
None of the products ever made it to customers.
An internal investigation of the affected products by Harvey & Brockless found that the contamination would have had to have happened after the production process owing to the fact that the products go through a metal detector after leaving the kitchen.
It was alerted to Jones’ actions when CCTV footage showed him mixing an unknown substance into raw ingredients that were to be prepared for production the following day while he was alone.
Jones was arrested on 10 November 2022 and questioned by West Midlands Police, where he later admitted to combining fish sauce with soy sauce on one occasion.
“This was an extremely disturbing case that could have had far-reaching implications had the defendant 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,” says Mehree Kamranfar, senior crown prosecutor for CPS West Midlands.
“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 pleaded guilty to contaminating foods, as well as a separate charge of burglary. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison following a hearing at Worcester Crown Court.