FSA launch review into meat cutting plants and cold stores

The Food Standards Agency is to review practices in meat cutting plants following the serious non-compliance issues at 2 Sisters Food Group and Russell Hume.

ITV News uncovered chicken being removed from the factory floor and dates being changed at the 2Sisters factory but the company denies any suggestion of low standards.

While meat supplier Russell Hume, whose product is used at the likes of JD Wetherspoon and Jamie's Italian, was forced to recall items after FSA investigators found “serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations” at a meat cutting plant.

Officials found widespread and serious evidence of breaches of hygiene.

There is no evidence anyone has been made ill and Russell Hume say the have an "unblemished record" in such matters.

There are widespread concerns in the industry regarding the matter and more plants will be inspected by the FSA.

The FSA say they will have a new review into how these kinds of plants are being policed

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency and Ross Finnie Chair of Food Standards Scotland, jointly commented: “In the last six months the FSA and FSS have faced two serious incidents involving major players in the meat sector. People rightly expect food businesses to keep to the rules, rules designed to keep consumers safe and to sustain public trust in food - and food businesses have a duty to follow the regulations.

“In the light of these recent incidents, the FSA and FSS will be taking forward reviews of cutting plants and cold stores used for meat. Further details will be published later this month and the results will be fully available to the public.”

Russell Hume is under investigation. Credit: ITV News

Russell Hume are still under investigation by the FSA.

Jason Feeney, Chief Executive of the FSA said: “Our investigation into the major non-compliances we found at the Russell Hume plants in England and Scotland is intensifying. We have already stopped these plants producing meat products, have ensured the withdrawal and disposal of the products and now we are looking at the root cause of the incident and any culpability.

"The investigation is looking into all aspects of the business to establish more details about the serious and widespread problems that we identified. This will then determine whether additional enforcement action should be taken. Therefore we will be unable to make any further comments on the detail of the investigation.

“It remains the case that there is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume and we continue to assess the situation working with the relevant public health bodies.”