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2 Sisters owner to face Commons probe over hygiene claims crisis

By John Corser | Business | Published:

The owner and chief executive of crisis-hit 2 Sisters Food Group is to appear before a Commons select committee investigating allegations of food safety breaches at its West Bromwich chicken processing factory.

Ranjit Singh Boparan

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's hearing on October 25 will hear evidence from Ranjit Singh Boparan, The Food Standards Agency, Assured Food Standards and The British Poultry Council.

The short inquiry will look into the role and performance of the regulatory and accreditation bodies in maintaining food standards and food safety, and the potential ramifications of the allegations made against 2 Sisters for the poultry sector and the wider food chain.

It follows claims over poor hygiene and practices after undercover filming by ITV and the Guardian at the factory.

The Food Standards Agency has since extended its investigation to other 2 Sisters plants across the country, the Food Standards Agency has announced.

Supermarket chains including Tesco and Sainsbury's have suspended chicken orders from the plant.

The FSA has said it had not identified food safety issues in West Bromwich, but that investigations had 'highlighted issues requiring management attention, for example in relation to some aspects of staff training and stock control'.

Footage appeared to show chicken that had fallen on the floor being thrown back onto the production line and slaughter and sell-by dates being altered.

It has also been alleged that drumsticks meant for Lidl were mixed in with Tesco's exclusive chicken brand.

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The group produces a third of all poultry products eaten in the UK and also supplies Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl.

The Site D factory In Dial Lane has been shut since October 1 for re-training staff.

The decision by the Commons committee to hold a hearing follows a meeting of its members yesterday and comes after its chairman Neil Parish, reacted to the scandal two weeks ago by saying he was preparing to call the entrepreneur.

The MP said: “Public confidence in our domestic food standards is central to the success of the UK’s agri-food industry.

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“The committee has been closely monitoring reports about malpractice at the 2 Sisters Food Group, and considers an inquiry into the allegations of food safety breaches at its processing plants to be a matter of urgency.

“We hope that looking into the causes of any breaches will allow 2 Sisters to rectify the situation and put in place safeguards that mean similar incidents do not happen again.

“It’s vital that lessons learned in our inquiry inform the wider industry, contribute to higher food standards and restore the confidence in both food and farming across the UK.”

The group's head of communications Nick Murray said: "We are aware of the October 25 hearing, but the group will not be commenting ahead of it."

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star business reporter at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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