2 Sisters and Standards in Poultry Processing report published
17 November 2017
Environment, Foods and Rural Affairs Committee publishes report into 2 Sisters Food Group and Standards in Poultry Processing as Ranjit Singh Boparan confirms wide-ranging food standards commitments in writing.
Inquiry into 2 Sisters and poultry standards
The Committee launched an inquiry into 2 Sisters and poultry standards following the undercover footage released by The Guardian and ITN.
The evidence sessions looked at the issues raised at the 2 Sisters plant and the role and performance of the Food Standards Agency, Sandwell Metropolitan Council and accreditation bodies.
It also explored the potential ramifications of the allegations made against 2 Sisters for the poultry sector and the wider food chain.
The report notes:
- That there is, "no systematic process for bringing together the various audits and assessments conducted by different accreditation and regulatory bodies; as such there is no single overarching view about standards in a particular plant or facility."
- "After Assured Food Standards suspended 2 Sisters' Red Tractor accreditation it did not immediately and especially inform the Food Standards Agency."
- That "unannounced visits are not completely a surprise; even an unannounced visit gives processors a period of around 30 minutes' grace before the inspection begins and as a result "people will tend to be on their best behaviour."
- "The problems identified at the 2 Sisters plant at West Bromwich are not a one-off. The past record of the 2 Sisters Food Group is far from pristine and there are valid questions to be asked of its corporate governance structure."
"wakeup call for all accreditation firms"
Neil Parish MP, Chair, said:
"Our inquiry should serve as a wakeup call for all accreditation firms and cause them to improve their processes and remove any loopholes that may exist, not just those discovered through our inquiry
Food supply chains are sensitive and easy to disrupt when retailers and consumers lose confidence in food quality or safety. Large producers and retailers have a responsibility to protect, rather than undermine, the UK’s food producers."
Letter from Ranjit Singh Boparan
Ranjit Singh Boparan wrote to the Committee on 10 November, confirming in writing the commitments he made to the Environment, Foods and Rural Affairs Committee during his hearing. These commitments are:
- Placing a full time FSA inspector in West Bromwich poultry plant (now in situ) as well all other poultry plants (w/c 13th November).
- Sharing the forensic report analysing the Guardian/ITN footage with the Committee.
- Inviting the Committee to visit a 2 Sisters Food Group plant, announced or unannounced.
- Installing CCTV with complete coverage in all poultry plants (within 120 days), and establishing a CCTV committee.
- Implanting mystery workers into all poultry factories by the end of January 2018.
- Sharing progress on the above with the Committee.
Neil Parish MP, Chair, said:
"We are pleased that Mr Boparan has written to the Committee and restated his commitment to improving standards at Two Sisters’ production facilities. The commitments are on the public record and we will be closely monitoring their implementation with a view to investigating further if required.
It is important that consumers in both the UK and in our vital export markets feel confident in the quality of our food standards. We have made it quite clear that we take his assurances very seriously. We will be closely monitoring their implementation."
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