Beyond Organics has been closed for renovations. Health authorities found a dog carcass in the freezer during inspections in May and June. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Organic food business stored dead dog, 25 pounds of ‘pot’ in freezer

Maple Ridge business owner says freezer was for pet food only.

With the carcass of a dead dog and 25 pounds of marijuana in a freezer at Beyond Organics, inspectors from Fraser Health gave the Maple Ridge business a “high” hazard rating.

There were other violations from the May 29 inspection, as well, such the conversion of a backroom office into a bedroom, because food premises must be separate from living quarters, with no direct access.

There was a heavy fly infestation inside the premises on Dewdney Trunk Road, according to Fraser Health, and foods obtained from unapproved sources. The latter violation arose because labels were missing on many meat products in both the deli cooler and freezer display.

In the comments section of the Fraser Health inspection report, it was noted pets were not allowed inside the building in downtown Maple Ridge.

Fraser Health also received a complaint that dogs were staying in the living quarters, adjacent to the main food processing area.

Health inspectors also had RCMP attend, because of the large quantity of marijuana found.

There were two follow-up inspections, on June 6 and June 15.

On June 6, according to Fraser Health, the dead dog was still in the freezer, the back room was still a bedroom, and labels were missing on meat products.

Another hazard was recorded – proprietor Denis Prasad was spraying “Raid” aerosol in the food processing area, in an attempt to beat back the “heavy fly infestation.”

It was noted that the premises was not open to the public.

On June 15, the inspection found the hazard rating low, dropping to a score of three, from a high of 68 on the previous one.

Anything over 30 is considered a high hazard rating.

A note on the Fraser Health report said Prasad should contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding labelling requirements for proper or accurate labelling.

The majority of food products were purchased from approved manufacturers and processors, according to Fraser Health, and repackaged at Beyond Organics for sale.

The processor named in the report was Arctic Meats. A representative from that Port Coquitlam-based business said it does not produce organic products.

Beyond Organics has a sign on its front door that it is closed for renovations. The storefront is missing a window, which has been covered by plywood, and has broken glass on the door.

Prasad said the last inspections by Fraser Health ruined his organics business.

The dead dog was stored with dog food only.

He had a pet food business for 15 years, which was separate from his organics business, and all the meat in that freezer was not intended for human consumption.

He said it was a customer’s pet, stored as a favour.

“Until he decided whether to cremate it, bury it … whatever. Sometimes when you have a pet, it’s hard to decide. You just can’t throw it out,” said Prasad. “It’s just like human being dying, you don’t leave it there in a chair, you’re going to take him to a morgue, to a freezer.”

Prasad told the Fraser Health inspectors the freezer food was not for human consumption.

“It has zero human food.”

He said the marijuana on site was “leaves and branches,” given to him by another business that wanted him to create “medicinal pet food.”

“I threw it in the freezer and I forgot about it,” he said. “So it was all liquid slush.”

He said the Fraser Health inspector identified the weed from the smell.

“I said it’s not pot, pot is the … bud,” said Prasad. “He calls 9-1-1, police, and we’ve got six cop cars here.

“To this day, they haven’t charged me for nothing.”

Ridge Meadows RCMP confirmed they attended Beyond Organics on May 29, and no charges are stemming.

Prasad said he is now out of business and blamed health inspectors, adding he is considering a lawsuit.

“I’m building a case on them,” he said. “I’m not finished with them yet.”

Meanwhile, a noxious smell is coming from the building and the city has received complaints.

“The city has received complaints about the property and the bylaws department has made contact with the property owner,” said Robin MacNair, city bylaws manager. “We understand that the property owner is moving quickly to resolve the issue.”

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