UK's biggest chicken supplier embroiled in food safety breach

81f935d5-bd6e-4451-87db-49853b9653d9articleimage.jpg

29 Sep 2017 --- Supermarkets in the UK have been warned that they could be selling chicken that is past its sell-by date after an investigation found that the largest supplier of chicken to UK supermarkets may be tampering with food safety records. An investigation by The Guardian newspaper and ITV News recorded undercover footage of workers altering the slaughter date of poultry being processed at a 2 Sisters Food Group plant. 

The Guardian notes that the group produces a third of all poultry products eaten in the UK and supplies top grocers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl.

Following horsemeat scandal
The discovery comes four years after the 2013 horsemeat scandal, which has resulted in prison sentences for those convicted of a conspiracy to pass off cheaper horsemeat as beef.

The practice of changing “kill dates” could artificially stretch the commercial life of meat products by triggering the food processor to print incorrect use-by dates on supermarket packaging, according to the investigation.

Workers at the company confirmed to investigators that they had been asked to switch these labels on other occasions. It is illegal to place incorrect use-by dates on food, which are set for safety reasons and differ from “best before” dates.

The Guardian and ITV News joint investigation, which involved taking secret recordings during a spell of 12 working days inside 2 Sisters’ plant in West Bromwich, also alleges that:

• Use-by dates printed on the packets of the mixed chicken tend to show the age of the freshest, rather than oldest, meat in the batch.

• Chicken portions returned by supermarket distribution centers are being repackaged by 2 Sisters and then sent out again to major grocers.

• Chickens dropped on the floor of the processing plant by workers are then returned to the production line.

• Workers change records of where chickens were slaughtered, potentially hindering authorities’ efforts to recall contaminated meat during food scares.

The company says it has not been given enough time or detail to respond to the allegations, which it describes as “false.”

“Food safety and hygiene are 2SFG’s top priorities,” reads a letter from 2 Sisters Food Group’s legal advisers, Schillings, to The Guardian. “To the extent that you have identified any shortcomings (which is not admitted), these could only be isolated examples which our clients would take very seriously, and they are investigating the allegations made.”

“We view these allegations extremely seriously,” reads the company’s statement on the investigation on its website. “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 continues. “We also successfully operate in one of the most tightly controlled and highly regulated food sectors in the world.”

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Weekly Roundup: Nestlé sells Gerber Life Insurance, Givaudan completes Naturex acquisition

21 Sep 2018 --- In business news this week, Nestlé announced plans to sell Gerber Life Insurance Company, to Western & Southern Financial Group for US$1.55 billion in cash. Bösch Boden Spies launched a sustainability initiative and Givaudan completed the acquisition of Naturex, following the implementation of the squeeze-out procedure and the delisting of Naturex shares from the Euronext Paris stock exchange. Firmenich appointed Emmanuel Butstraen as president of its Flavors Business Unit and member of the company’s executive committee and Tyson Foods’ CEO Tom Hayes is stepping down.

Food Ingredients News

Protein potential: Stryve Biltong secures US$10m investment to accelerate brand growth

20 Sep 2018 --- Protein snack brand, Stryve Biltong has received a total investment of US$10 million from Meaningful Partners, an investment firm focused on purposeful and mission-oriented consumer-facing challenger brands, and Murano group, a privately-owned holding company, among others.

Food Ingredients News

Peeling back the label: UK study explores the “real” ingredients in popular processed foods

19 Sep 2018 --- A study examining the lack of meat in some processed foods and what UK consumers think is classified as “ultra-processed products” reveals a widespread lack of understanding. Less than half of those surveyed feel confident in pointing out which foods fall into the “processed” and “ultra-processed” categories. The study also revealed that many didn’t know the difference between processed foods like frozen vegetables or dried fruit which are not considered unhealthy and ultra-processed foods which contain additives and ingredients (often salt, fat and sugar) to enhance their flavor, texture, or longevity.

Food Ingredients News

GRAS status: FDA and USDA approve PhageGuard-E as processing aid against E. Coli

19 Sep 2018 --- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have approved Phageguard-E as a “GRAS” (Generally Recognized as Safe) food processing aid against E.coli O157. The new product consists of natural phages against E.coli and is produced by Netherlands-based phage technology development company Micreos, who have confirmed that industrial-scale projects with US meat processing companies are set to start shortly.

Food Ingredients News

Cargill’s poultry business expands into Poland with Konspol acquisition

18 Sep 2018 --- Cargill has reached an agreement to acquire Polish food company Konspol, signaling the introduction of its global protein business into the Polish market and strengthening the company’s poultry footprint. The move expands operations in this space to 14 countries.

More Articles