The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are to undertake a full review of meat suppliers in the wake of “serious incidents involving major players”.
Details of the investigation, launched in the wake of hygiene probes into 2 Sisters Food Group and Russell Hume, are expected to be established later this month and the results will be made available to the public in full.
Heather Hancock, chair of the Food Standards Agency and Ross Finnie chair of Food Standards Scotland stated that people “rightly expect food businesses to keep to the rules”, which are in place to keep customers safe.
They continued: “In the light of these recent incidents, the FSA and FSS will be taking forward reviews of cutting plants and cold stores used for meat.”
In September 2017 2 Sisters Food Group’s chicken processing site in West Bromwich was temporarily shut down after undercover reporters alleged poor standards and alterations to the source and slaughter dates of poultry. Supermarkets immediately pulled the products from the shelves and the Government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched an inquiry.
The site has since reopened under the surveillance of the FSA.
This month, the FSA stopped meat from leaving Russell Hume sites due to “serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.” The factory has closed as the investigation continues.
Areas of interest for the investigation into Russell Hume include the extended use of use by dates and the food safety management system that the business has in place.
Jason Feeney, chief executive of the FSA said: “Our investigation into the major non-compliances we found at the Russell Hume plants in England and Scotland is intensifying. We have already stopped these plants producing meat products, have ensured the withdrawal and disposal of the products and now we are looking at the root cause of the incident and any culpability. The investigation is looking into all aspects of the business to establish more details about the serious and widespread problems that we identified. This will then determine whether additional enforcement action should be taken. Therefore we will be unable to make any further comments on the detail of the investigation.
“It remains the case that there is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume and we continue to assess the situation working with the relevant public health bodies.”
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