Claiming the lives of four firefighters, the tragic blaze at Wealmoor's vegetable packhouse in Atherstone, Warwickshire, on 2 November sparked a media frenzy.

A barrage of national headlines focused on the production methods of vegetable producer Wealmoor.

The Mail on Sunday's story headlined 'Murdered by Cheap Food' alleged that poor treatment of migrant labour was to blame for the firefighters' deaths.

Wealmoor vehemently denied that any of its staff had been sleeping in the packhouse overnight. But the issue of the cost of UK food production was thrust under the spotlight as the wider fresh produce industry was forced to defend itself against criticism of its labour practices.

Though there was no evidence of improper working practices at Wealmoor, the firemen entered in response to rumours workers were trapped inside.

John McGhee, Fire Brigades Union national officer for health and safety, told The Grocer it had evidence that food and drink manufacturers were "allowing staff to sleep in their factories". Wealmoor, which had only purchased the warehouse a matter of months earlier when vegetable and salads supplier Bomfords went into administration, also had to counter criticism of its sprinkler systems and fire doors - it hadn't completed the roll-out of new systems introduced by Bomfords.

Investigations into precisely what happened are ongoing as Wealmoor continues to pick up the pieces.

It paid tribute to customers and competitors, some of whom assisted with operations in the immediate aftermath of the fire.