An anonymous whistleblower at Talley’s frozen food factory in Ashburton has come forward with images of filthy machines, and says it’s “just a matter of time” until there’s another accident at the factory.
To the public, the company presents a spotless image of staff producing frozen vegetables with a smile on their face, but 1 NEWS can now pull back the curtain of a different side to its Ashburton factory.
"I'm sorry but these guys, they are lying to them - they are lying to their customers," the whistleblower said.
1 NEWS has chosen not to identify the man for his protection.
Talley's is one of our biggest food companies, with their produce stocked in supermarkets all over the country - but they have seen several accidents.
Across their many operations, one worker has been decapitated at sea, while another was paralysed. Others, meanwhile, have been injured in preventable accidents.
"To me, what they are doing, they don't even care because these people are easily replaceable," he said.
The images show filthy machines, with one coated in burnt grease and another with corn juice.
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In another, a contractor can be seen standing on top of a loaded truck, while another image shows a machine with exposed "pinch points" where people can become trapped.
"If your hand is trapped in the machine - your fingers or whatever - the machine keeps running - the machine doesn't recognise people's fingers," he said.
Talley's told 1 NEWS the photos were taken out of context.
Talley's CEO Tony Hazlett says the machines are cleaned regularly.
"You're always going to get some heat stain on there, you're always going to get some buildup on there," he said.
The whistleblower, however, says his images have "not been there for one or two days - it's been there for months".
The company says hazards such as the "pinch points" have since been put under a guard as part of their regular audits.
"I contend that we have a safe site," Hazlett said.
However, just three months ago, a woman says she had her hand stuck in a machine on the Ashburton corn line.
A leaked email shows Talley's had to call emergency services to get her out, before asking staff to keep quiet.
"Do not share any information, discuss or pass comment about the incident outside the business," part of the email read.
Hazlett said the woman would have been safe if she "had followed the proper procedures".
WorkSafe investigated the incident but did not take any further action.
Talley's is refuting any suggestion they put profit over their staff.
"Everyone can see it, everyone - managers, supervisors - everyone is there, they know it's there; they just walk away," the whistleblower said.
"I feel that we are definitely doing everything we can to try and make sure people do go home safely on a daily basis," Hazlett said.
- additional reporting by Georgie Hanafin