The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has confirmed that it has cleared two poultry processing plants operated by major supermarket supplier the 2 Sisters Food Group of allegations of unsatisfactory hygiene standards following detailed audits at both sites carried out on 25 July.
The UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt requested that the Agency should follow up the allegations made last week in the Guardian newspaper. The newspaper conducted a lengthy investigation of the poultry processing industry and published a report based on undercover video and photographic evidence and information from whistle-blowers alleging breaches of hygiene and biosecurity standards designed to prevent the spread of Campylobacter contamination in poultry.
The report identified 2 Sisters plants in Scunthorpe and Anglesey as sites where standards were flouted and alleged that chickens that fell on the floor in the processing area were put back on the line rather than being discarded and that equipment breakdowns led to an increased risk of bacterial cross contamination. It also alleged that biosecurity standards were breached at another abattoir owned by Faccenda Foods. Both companies strongly denied the allegations.
The FSA first reviewed the available evidence in the report and concluded that the companies had dealt with the specific problems highlighted in the Guardian report in the proper way and they did not present a food safety risk. After later auditing the 2 Sisters Foods plants the Agency released a statement saying, “Initial results from these two detailed and rigorous audits showed the plant at Scunthorpe as ‘Good’ and the plant at Llangefni as ‘Generally Satisfactory’. The FSA will publish the completed audits in due course.”