2 Sisters suspends operations until workers are “appropriately retrained”

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03 Oct 2017 --- 2 Sisters has officially suspended operations to supply chicken to UK supermarkets, since the food safety breach scandal, which was revealed last week. The company, who accounts for one-third of all chicken processed in the UK, said supply would only restart once it was satisfied workers had been “appropriately retrained”.

The investigation by ITV News and The Guardian found evidence of 2 Sisters workers altering the slaughter date of poultry, raising the risk that shoppers could end up buying meat past its use-by-date. It also captured workers dropping chicken on the floor of the processing plant and returning it to the production line.

The practices can artificially extend the shelf life of meat and make it untraceable in the event of an outbreak of food poisoning.

When meats of different ages were mixed together, the slaughter date of the newest batch rather than the oldest batch would be used, employees claimed.

A statement released by the company said: “We are shocked and distressed by the allegations and the footage which we saw for the first time on Thursday, September 28th. Since the allegations were put to us by The Guardian/ITV, we have been working around the clock to get to the truth of the matter. We responded immediately by launching our own internal investigation at our West Bromwich plant and invited the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to independently review our standards. The FSA has been in daily attendance since the allegations were raised and confirmed that it has not identified any breaches. However, our internal investigation has shown some isolated instances of non-compliance with our own Quality management systems. We have therefore decided to temporarily suspend operations at the site to allow us the time to retrain all colleagues including management in all Food Safety and Quality management systems. We will only recommence supply once we are satisfied that our colleagues have been appropriately retrained. We continue to work closely with the FSA and our customers throughout this period. We remain committed to ensuring that we operate to the highest standards of hygiene and food safety, and we act with honesty and integrity at all times.”

The FSA said that it had found no evidence of breaches during an inspection of the plant. But it said it was still reviewing evidence, saying: “If any incidences of non-compliance are found we will take prompt and proportionate action with the business concerned, working closely with the local authority.”

“We view these allegations extremely seriously,” reads the company’s statement from earlier in the week. “However, we have not been given the time or the detailed evidence to conduct any thorough investigations to establish the facts, which makes a fulsome response very difficult.”

“What we can confirm is that hygiene and food safety will always be the number one priority within the business, and they remain at its very core,” the statement reads. “We also successfully operate in one of the most tightly controlled and highly regulated food sectors in the world.”

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