Another recall is underway at one of the UK’s largest meat traders
Fairfax Meadow is withdrawing a range of beef products from a series of pubs, bars, hotel and restaurants.
The move follows several unannounced factory inspections in England and Scotland by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on Thursday.
The FSA was acting on a tip-off that Fairfax Meadow was failing to properly label the meat it was supplying.
We don’t know what the FSA inspectors found but we do know they weren’t impressed because they insisted that meat would need to be withdrawn as a precaution. Fairfax Meadow agreed.
Fairfax Meadow turns over £160 million a year and the the scale of this recall is significant.
The company has yet to disclose the full details but I understand that it involves beef and a range of different cuts of steaks; including rib-eye, flat-iron, bavette and featherblade.
The beef is being recalled from some of Fairfax’s biggest customers, including: Jurys Inn, Greene King, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Giraffe restaurants, Nando’s and Wetherspoons.
In a statement Faifax Meadow says it has a “relentless focus on safety, hygiene and quality”. It added that the recall was “voluntary” and that it was being done as “a precautionary measure and has been promptly implemented”.
This recall will inevitably remind you of the recent problems at the other big meat supplier, Russell Hume. But there are important differences.
In addition to the withdrawal of meat from customers, the FSA also stopped all meat leaving Russell Hume sites.
Fairfax will be allowed to continue trading as normal after agreeing to “change procedures”. The FSA says it has no plans to take enforcement action against Fairfax.
But this recall has done little to reassure Professor Chris Elliott, the scientist who lead the government’s inquiry into the horse meat scandal four years ago.
Tonight Professor Elliott told ITV News “another serious issue has come to light in UK meat industry. More recalls of meat that appears to have been mislabeled. The FSA reassure us that we have nothing to worry about but I believe we do.”
Prof Elliott points out that the companies who are now having to recall meat recently passed factory inspections (or “audits”) with flying colours.
Prof Elliott added: “Why are these audits failing to pick-up the problems? The future strategy of the FSA in regulating the food industry depends on these audits finding the problems that are there”.