What do you do with a container load of spoilt meat?

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Your business imports meat or other foods. For reasons outside of your control you may find yourself needing to dispose of a container load of spoilt meat because the contents:

  • have passed their sell by or use by date
  • there is missing paperwork
  • are visually imperfect, or the packaging is damaged
  • are spoilt, mouldy or decomposing

The Port Authority has informed you that it is seizing the cargo. As we all know, the reason we then destroy the spoilt or seized goods is because they may not be fit for human consumption or for any other food process and public health must be the highest priority.

Now you have the problem of increased storage costs, the cost of lost product and a container load of spoilt meat that needs a specialist waste disposal company to remove and process the waste in the most efficient manner whilst ensuring the waste is managed in a compliant manner.

What should you do next?

You now need to find a company that has the relevant permits and licences to transport and process the spoilt goods.

The type of waste will also dictate the permits or licences the waste management company will need. For example Category 1 & 2 ABP requires incineration or processing followed by incineration.

What to look for in a waste management supplier:

Our recommendation is to find a company that owns and operates its own ADR compliant fleet and drivers, along with its own processing facilities that comply with national and local legislation.

Other considerations:

There are number of questions that we see arise on a regular basis:

  • have you got the release documentation?
  • are the goods dockside or landside?
  • is the container accessible?
  • is the waste management company known to the site?

If you are unsure on any of these it is likely that there will be a delay in being able to collect and process the waste leading to further increases to your costs. An experienced waste management supplier should be able to guide and assist in overcoming these types of queries before you experience a significant delay.

It’s not only spoilt meat that ends up going through our incineration process

As a specialist waste company Novus Environmental has helped many clients with spoilt and contaminated goods. For example, the latest cargo included items as diverse as vermicelli, hot pot seasoning, cinnamon and fragrant sand.

An example of the work conducted by Novus Environmental

One of the more odorous jobs we collected a 40ft container of topside beef that was being imported from outside of the EU. The freezer in the container was broken, therefore the meat had spoilt and was seized; collection was challenging as the beef had defrosted; associated liquids were leaking from the container making it unsafe to simply transport. The solution we opted for was to re-freeze the container and transport it to our waste management site in Cambridgeshire. The waste was then defrosted and incinerated in line with legislation on ABP. The container was cleaned and returned to the client. This is just one example of where we have dealt with spoilt goods through our Cambridgeshire waste processing site.

spoilt meat doesn’t look like this!

In conclusion

If you find yourself in the situation where goods are stopped from entering the UK by the Ports Authority you will need to find a specialist waste management company. It is important that the company you choose has the relevant permits and licences. We also recommend that it owns its own fleet and treatment facilities. It should also be known to the Port Authority and has experience of dealing with a wide range of waste materials.


It is important that we have a service that is cost effective and consistent, but flexible enough to accommodate enquiries for varied waste types received from our customers. Novus Environmental have given us a service that has been both of those things and their customer services team are fantastic in their approach – helpful and knowledgeable.