Chicken firm stops sup­plies in scare over health breach

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

ONE of the largest sup­pli­ers of chicken to UK su­per­mar­kets has sus­pended op­er­a­tions af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed a string of al­leged health and safety breaches.

The 2 Sis­ters Food Group (2SFG), which has its head­quar­ters in Birm­ing­ham and fac­to­ries across the re­gion, said sup­ply would only restart once it was sat­is­fied work­ers had been “ap­pro­pri­ately re­trained”.

An un­der­cover re­porter work­ing at its West Bromwich site claimed to wit­ness work­ers al­legedly tam­per­ing with slaugh­ter dates and mix­ing meat of dif­fer­ent ages.

Source codes on crates of meat were also changed, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by ITV News and The Guardian claimed.

The prac­tices can ar­ti­fi­cially ex­tend the shelf life of meat and make it un­trace­able in the event of an out­break of food poi­son­ing.

When meats of dif­fer­ent ages were mixed to­gether, the slaugh­ter date of the new­est batch rather than the old­est batch would be used, em­ploy­ees claimed. Some work­ers also claimed the chicken that su­per­mar­kets re­jected was some­times repack­aged at the fac­tory and sent out again.

Qual­ity as­sur­ance work­ers told jour­nal­ists they were in­tim­i­dated by pro­duc­tion man­agers and wor­ried about be­ing sent home if they tried to en­force food hy­giene rules.

2SFG said in a state­ment on Sun­day: “We are shocked and dis­tressed by the al­le­ga­tions and the footage which we saw for the first time on Thurs­day.

“Since the al­le­ga­tions were put to us by The Guardian and ITV, we have been work­ing around the clock to get to the truth of the mat­ter.

“We re­sponded im­me­di­ately by launch­ing our own in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion at our West Bromwich plant and in­vited the Food Stan­dards Agency (FSA) to in­de­pen­dently review our stan­dards.

“The FSA has been in daily at­ten­dance since the al­le­ga­tions were raised and con­firmed that it has not iden­ti­fied any breaches.

“How­ever, our in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion has shown some iso­lated in­stances of non-com­pli­ance with our own qual­ity man­age­ment sys­tems.

“We have there­fore de­cided to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend op­er­a­tions at the site to al­low us the time to re­train all col­leagues, in­clud­ing man­age­ment, in all food safety and qual­ity man­age­ment sys­tems.

“All col­leagues will re­main on full pay and will at­tend site whilst train­ing is un­der­taken. We will only recom­mence sup­ply once we are sat­is­fied our col­leagues have been ap­pro­pri­ately re­trained.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.