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FSA widens investigations to other 2 Sisters sites

An undercover investigation by ITV and the Guardian revealed a series of potential food safety breaches.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has extended its investigations to other 2 Sisters sites across England and Wales following an undercover investigation from the Guardian and ITV which identified potential safety breaches at its West Midlands plant.

 

It follows an initial investigation at the West Bromwich site which it said had not identified food safety issues on these premises, but highlighted issues requiring management attention, for example in relation to some aspects of staff training and stock control.

 

It added it was working with the major retailers supplied by 2 Sisters, as well as reviewing information from various other sources.

 

It has also written formally to ITN and the Guardian to request the full evidence taken by their undercover investigation, such as the footage taken and witness interview transcripts to assist our investigation.

 

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency said: "Consumers deserve food they can trust, and can be reassured that we take allegations of poor practice very seriously.

 

"Although our initial inspection found no risk to public health, we are broadening our investigations until we are satisfied that this is truly the case.

 

"I am disappointed that ITN and the Guardian have not yet provided the information that they committed to share and I would urge anyone who has evidence to share to bring it directly to us."

 


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2 Sisters has announced it has suspended production at its West Midlands factory to ’retrain all colleagues including management in all Food safety and Quality management systems’.

 

An investigation by ITV and the Guardian alleged slaughter dates were altered at the factory.

 

The video also showed meat being put back on the production line after falling on the floor.

 

An ITV reporter was employed at the site in the West Midlands. 2 Sisters produces chicken for many of the major supermarkets and five retailers supplied by the West Midlands factory, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Aldi and Lidl, have suspended deliveries from the site.

A spokesman for 2 sisters said it was ’shocked and distressed’ by the footage.

 

"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 that our colleagues have been appropriately retrained.

 

"We continue to work closely with the FSA and our customers throughout this period.

 

"We remain committed to ensuring that we operate to the highest standards of hygiene and food safety, and we act with honesty and integrity at all times."

Investigation

 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said inspectors had been to the plant in question on September 28 to begin an investigation but had found no evidence of breaches.

 

However, it said it would continue to review the evidence and if any non-compliance was found it would take prompt and proportionate action.

 

It urged anyone with information to contact it.


Heather Hancock, Chairman of the FSA said: “It is the responsibility of a food business to ensure that the food it sells is safe and what it says it is.

 

“We take any allegations of inaccurate labelling and breaches in hygiene regulations very seriously.

 

“Should we find any evidence of any risk to public health, any products on the market which we believe to be a cause of concern will be urgently removed from sale.

 

“We would always encourage consumers to take note of our advice on safe cooking, handling and storage of chicken and other poultry meat.”

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