Meat, game and poultry supplier Russell Hume has entered administration after a Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation saw production shutdown.
Chris Pole and Mark Orton from KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators to the specialist meat supplier.
The group, which has its headquarters in Derby and operates from six production sites in Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Boroughbridge, Exeter and Fife, supplied meat to hotels, restaurants and pubs across the UK and employed 302 people.
Last month, production across the company's sites was stopped and products were recalled after an investigation was launched by the FSA into allegations of non-compliance with food hygiene regulations. Production has since been allowed to resume at the Liverpool site, however all others remain closed.
Following the investigation companies including JD Wetherspoon and Jamie's Italian ended their contracts with the supplier.
In a joint statement, the company's directors said: "Unfortunately, the FSA's action created impossible trading conditions for us, and after careful reflection we have decided the best thing for the company and its creditors is to put Russell Hume into administration.
"This decision has been heartbreaking. We will continue to work with the FSA with regards to the issues it raised, but we still feel its action has been out of all proportion to the concerns it says it has identified. Had it worked more closely with us in the crucial early stages of the situation, then more than 300 jobs may not have been lost. The fact that its investigations have become industry-wide and a number of other firms have also had issues, strongly suggests there is a lack of clarity in the industry and in current FSA guidelines.
"Prior to this, we had a long, unblemished record for supplying quality meat products. We would like to thank our customers for their support, but above all our loyal and hard-working staff, some of whom have been with us a great many years. They were all an integral part of our success, and we are very sorry the Russell Hume story should have ended in such a sudden and devastating way. Our thoughts today are with them and their families."
Chris Pole, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, commented: "The recent product recall and halt in operations has caused significant customer attrition and trading difficulties, which in turn has led the directors to take the decision to place the company into administration.
"Regrettably, with little prospect of production restarting on site, a total of 266 people have been made redundant. Our priority over the coming days will be to work with all affected employees to provide the assistance they need in claiming monies owed from the Redundancy Payments Office.
"We will also be seeking buyers for the business and its assets. Any interested parties are advised to contact us as soon as possible."
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