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UK watchdog to review meat processing plants after non-compliance issues

FBR Staff Writer Published 05 February 2018

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) will launch an industry-wide review of meat cutting premises and cold stores later this month.

The move comes following reports of non-compliant operations at the cutting plants of 2 Sisters Food Group and Russell Hume.

Last month, the FSA had taken measures to prevent any product from leaving sites operated by Russell Hume owing to concerns regarding non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.

FSA had ordered the Derby-based meat supplier stop all its production at the plants and detain all products. It then ensured that the company initiated a voluntary withdrawal of all affected products.

In November 2017, a group of UK Members of Parliament (MPs) following an inquiry into the 2 Sisters chicken scandal said that the issues at the company’s West Bromwich plant were not a one-off incident. Operations at the 2 Sisters plant were suspended over hygiene issues.

FSA chairman Heather Hancock and FSS chair Ross Finnie, in a joint statement, said: “In the last six months the FSA and FSS have faced two serious incidents involving major players in the meat sector.

“People rightly expect food businesses to keep to the rules, rules designed to keep consumers safe and to sustain public trust in food - and food businesses have a duty to follow the regulations.”

The duo added that FSA and FSS plan to take forward reviews of meat cutting plants and cold stores used for meat. More details are to be revealed later in the month with results to be fully disclosed to the public.

The two UK food regulators said that their investigation is going on into the Russell Hume scandal, which will cover probe into the extended use of use by dates, and also into the food safety management system used by the company.

FSA CEO Jason Feeney said: “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.”

Photo: FSS and FSA to launch an industry-wide review of meat cutting plants in the UK. Photo: courtesy of savit keawtavee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.