The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said it will extend its 2 Sisters investigation to other sites in Wales and England following food hygiene and labelling concerns raised by an ITV News and The Guardian undercover investigation at a West Midland factory.
Concerns were raised at the end of September when poor hygiene standards were found at 2 Sisters West Bromwich plant during the undercover investigation.
Workers were filmed picking chicken up off the floor and throwing it back onto a production line and older poultry being mixed with fresher birds.
Footage also showed workers changing the slaughter dates on boxes of chicken, changing dates artificially extends the life of the chicken leaving consumers to buy meat past its use-by date.
Most of the UK’s major supermarket chains have suspended deliveries from 2 Sisters West Bromwich following the undercover investigation.
The FSA say they are working with the major retailers supplied by 2 Sisters, as well as reviewing information from various other sources.
They are also urging anyone who has evidence of poor hygiene standards at 2 Sisters to share it directly with them.
[miptheme_quote author=”Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency” style=”text-left”]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’m 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.[/miptheme_quote]
The move to extend the FSA investigation follows an initial inspection into the food hygiene and labelling concerns raised by ITN/Guardian report on 28 September.
The FSA say their investigation has not identified food safety issues on the West Bromwich site, but it highlighted issues requiring management attention, for example in relation to some aspects of staff training and stock control.
The statement by the FSA is not specific in terms of whether ALL 2 Sisters sites will be subject to the extended investigation, it says “The Food Standards Agency has decided to extend its investigations to other 2 Sisters poultry plants in England and Wales.”
Sandycroft is the largest poultry site in the 2 Sisters group, the site slaughters, cuts and packs over one million chickens a week, it was not subject to the ITN/Guardian investigation and no evidence has emerged to suggest there are any issues at the site.
2 Sisters employ 23,000 people acrosss the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Poland with annual sales of £3.12 billion.