Hygiene failings at major British poultry supplier
The 2 Sisters Food Group, one of the UK's largest poultry processing plants and a supplier to leading supermarkets and fast-food restaurants, including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Aldi and KFC, has been found to be in “breach of legislation” due to hygiene failings.
According to the Guardian, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has admitted that its initial inquiry which had cleared the company of hygiene failings at its poultry processing plant had been misleading.
The Guardian conducted undercover investigations into the food plant and found practices such as chickens that had been dropped on the floor being returned to the production line. The FSA conducted an investigation and rated the factory 'good' but less than a month later had written to Labour's Huw Irranca-Davies admitting it was wrong and that throwing dirty chickens back onto the production line constituted a "breach of the legislation". However, it had not issued a penalty, saying that the company had assured it the problem had been addressed.
The Guardian's investigation was said to have been prompted by high instances of contamination with the food poisoning bug campylobacter, which insiders claimed was a result of poor hygiene practices on the factory floor, “where managers were under pressure to process large volumes at high speed”.
Three former 2 Sisters employees were said to have come forward to make claims about dirty chickens contaminating the production line and attempts to manipulate inspections up to 2012. They claimed that it was "an almost daily occurrence" for birds to fall on the floor and be put back into the food chain instead of being correctly disposed of as waste. Auditors were also said to have been 'hoodwinked', with managers slowing down production lines and cleaning up poor practices during audits.
According to the article, Labour said that the FSA admission and the new questions over safety raised serious questions about the poultry inspection system in the UK.
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