1. ITV Report

Meat firm at centre of hygiene scare supplies schools and Britain's most popular food chains

A meat firm at the centre of a significant hygiene scare supplies schools, care homes and some of Britain's most popular food outlets, ITV News understands.

Russell Hume is under investigation by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for allegedly breaching hygiene regulations.

The outlets supplied by the firm include:

  • Wetherspoon's
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Tiger Tiger
  • Marston's pubs
  • Butlins

All the outlets confirmed that produce delivered by Russell Hume had been withdrawn and all had now switched suppliers.

Our Consumer Editor Chris Choi described the potential safety violations as "significant".

Russell Hume blamed "mislabelling" for the steak and gammon recall and insists there is no reason to believe the product is unsafe.

In a statement released later on Wednesday, the company said the actions of the FSA had "come as a serious shock".

They continued they were "well aware of the strict controls over the sale and supply of food" and have had regular FSA and other agency visits and audits where their "practices and compliance have never been challenged like this... there has never been a suggestion of any Russell Hume-supplied product causing illness.

"Unfortunately the FSA actions and its notice have created a very different impression."

They continued that the company is cooperating fully with the FSA, but they could not comment on the investigations since they are ongoing.

But the FSA said the firm was "unable to demonstrate compliance with food hygiene rules at its locations".

"We have stopped any product from leaving their sites until the business can provide assurances that they are compiling with relevant legislation," a spokesperson told ITV News.

"There is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume."

Employees at Russell Hume's site in Exeter said they were unsure whether they still had a job when approached on Tuesday afternoon.

Locals said the company's vans had not left its premises in two days.