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2 Sisters suspends production and retrains staff

2 Sisters Food Group has admitted for the first time that there is an issue at its factory in West Bromwich.

The company has suspended production of fresh chicken at Site D and the workforce is to be retrained in "food safety and quality management". All workers will receive training, from the production line to the factory manager.

2 Sisters has also invited the Food Standards Agency to independently review its standards - although this is something you'd expect the FSA, as the regulator, would be doing anyway.

2 Sisters has identified what it calls "isolated instances of non-compliance with our own quality management systems".

This is, in effect, and admission that one of the four serious allegations we made in our report last Thursday is accurate. My understanding is the company now accepts that workers have, sometimes, been taking chicken that falls on the factory floor and putting it back onto the production line - a cardinal sin in food safety - although it won't say so publicly.

2 Sisters says it is "shocked and distressed" by the footage we first broadcast on Thursday. The company is still investigating the other potential breaches of food safety rules that we revealed.

Ever since ITV News and the Guardian published our joint investigation, 2 Sisters has been under pressure from the retailers it supplied. They were variously horrified by the practices we highlighted. M&S suspended orders from the factory immediately. Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury's followed suit and tonight Tesco have also cancelled all order until further notice.

Tesco's initial investigation also found "isolated incidents where food quality procedures have not been followed". The supermarket says it found no evidence of the safety rules being breached but its investigation continues.

2 Sisters is keen to be seen as seizing the initiative but, make no mistake, there is a degree to which its hand has been forced. Every retailer which the site supplies has now suspended deliveries. From tomorrow the 900 people who work there would have been at a very loose end. Retraining them is likely to take weeks not days.