Poultry giant 2 Sisters has halted production at its main West Midlands plants after allegations were raised following an undercover operation by the Guardian and ITV News.
Indian-origin "chicken king" Ranjit Singh Boparan's food company in the United Kingdom has suspended poultry processing operations at a plant accused of serious safety breaches. Changing the records means the meat would be untraceable in the event of an outbreak of food poisoning.
The story made a number of allegations, including: returned chicken was repackaged and redistributed at the meat processor's West Bromwich plant; produce that had fallen on the factory floor was returned to the slaughter line; staff altered slaughter dates; and batches of chicken had been mixed together with meat that had different use-by dates.
Furthermore Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl all announced that they would be suspending shipments from the company a day after the story broke, with Sainsbury's following suit a day later.
In revised guidance on its website, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is recommending that shoppers use separate bags to carry raw foods, ready-to eat foods and non-food items such as household cleaners and washing powder.
Since the allegations were put to us by the Guardian/ITV, we have been working around the clock to get to the truth of the matter.
However, 2SFG has admitted that its internal investigation did show some instances of non-compliance with its own management systems.
The suspension was undertaken to allow workers and management at the site to be retrained while on full pay, the company said, adding that it will only recommence production once staff have been "appropriately retrained". It didn't give a timescale for the temporary closure, but said the plant would only re-open "once we are satisfied that our colleagues have been appropriately retrained".
2 Sisters said that the FSA had visited its site in West Bromwich on a daily basis since the claims came to light and had failed to identify any breaches of food safety law.
But it said it was continuing to review evidence, saying: 'If any incidences of non-compliance are found we will take prompt and proportionate action with the business concerned, working closely with the local authority'.
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