FSA report into 2 Sisters poultry finds weaknesses, but prompt response

A 2 Sisters Food Group plant. Picture: 2 SISTERS FOOD GROUP

A 2 Sisters Food Group plant. Picture: 2 SISTERS FOOD GROUP - Credit: Archant

A poultry firm at the centre of a food scandal last year has welcomed an official report into its practices.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of Boparan Private Office. Picture: 2 SISTERS

Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of Boparan Private Office. Picture: 2 SISTERS - Credit: Archant

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) found weaknesses at 2 Sisters Food Group (2SFG), but said issues raised had been dealt with promptly. The probe followed an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report in November 2017.

It was sparked when a Guardian/ITN investigation alleged food hygiene and potential fraud issues at an FSA-approved 2 Sisters Food Group cutting plant in Birmingham.

The company, owned by ‘chicken king’ Ranjit Boparan, owns meat plants across the country, including at Flixton, near Bungay, Thetford and Witham. He promptly closed the Birmingham plant and carried out intensive re-training of staff.

The Guardian/ITV claims centred around food hygiene practices, including that a chicken was dropped on the floor, and around repackaging, labelling and traceability practices at the site, which supplies several major retailers.

“Whilst the FSA investigation into 2SFG poultry cutting plants found some weaknesses in compliance with official controls, these issues were addressed promptly by the company and at no point during the investigation did we find activities in place that led us to issuing enforcement notices nor suspending approval for the production or distribution of poultry from these cutting plants,” the FSA report said.

It added: “For the improvements the company has made to be sustainable, the company’s journey to a better corporate culture must continue. 2SFG appears to have embraced “openness” and this may go some way to giving assurances that the company is serious about continuous improvement.”

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A 2 Sisters spokesman said it fully supported the outcomes and recommendations of the report and looked forward to “continuing an open and positive dialogue with the FSA.

“Not only did we act swiftly on remedying the situation once alerted last year, we have led the way with new initiatives to ensure trust and transparency are maintained within the industry,” he said.

“We are the only UK food business to publish all of its audit outcomes and are introducing independently monitored CCTV at all of our cutting plants.”

FSA chief executive Jason Feeney said the time was right for a fundamental review of cutting plants and cold stores. He has launched a review of hygiene controls and audit systems, and is working with industry to implement CCTV across cutting plants.

FSA investigators said in relation to the dropped chicken incident that while

CCTV footage showed cleaners picking up product from the floor it was unclear where it was then placed.

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