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UK MPs say 2 Sisters chicken scandal not a one-off incident

FBR Staff Writer Published 20 November 2017

A group of UK Members of Parliament (MPs) said that the problems at a 2 Sisters Food Group’s plant at West Bromwich which resulted in suspension of operations over hygiene issues were not a one-off incident.

The MPs, who carried out a month-long inquiry into the scandal, said that the past record of the poultry company is far from being clean and there are valid questions to be asked of its corporate governance structure.

They added further that there was apparent laxity shown by the regulatory agencies in their monitoring of the operations of the Site D facility of the poultry plant in West Midland, given that it is considered to be a major part of the poultry food chain.

According to the MPs, any risk management study which did not give the Site D facility the highest priority and the strictest levels of scrutiny is erroneous.

The MPs demand that the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) investigation into the 2 Sisters case should evaluate the quality of its risk assessment to take better account of the management’s history and the role of the facility in the food chain and the various farmers and suppliers who demand on it.

The scandal came out in the open following reports from the Guardian and ITV News in which workers at the 2 Sisters at West Bromwich were alleged of changing the dates of slaughter to extend the shelf life of the processed meat. Following it, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, The Co-op, Lidl and other retailers had stopped taking the chicken products from the 2 Sisters facility.

The MPs said that 2 Sisters' CEO Ranjit Singh Boparan had written to them promising to carry out various reforms like installing CCTVs in all plants, having a full-time FSA inspector to oversee operations among others to fix the problems.

The MPs, in a statement, said: “The modern food supply chain is incredibly fragile and sensitive. A failure in a single section of the chain can have catastrophic effects on hundreds of small suppliers and farmers.

“As well as the personal cost to Mr Boparan of the temporary suspension of Site D, many others have lost out from the failings highlighted in his plant. In that context we were pleased to hear of the short- and medium-term steps he is taking to prevent a re-occurrence and future stoppages in his plant.”

Image: 2 Sisters’ poultry business has been in the middle of a major scandal. Photo: Courtesy of lkunl/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.