2 Sisters boss to give evidence at Commons inquiry

2 Sisters Food Group boss, Ranjit Singh Boparan, has been summoned before a parliamentary inquiry following allegations of food safety offences at the meat processor’s poultry plant in West Bromwich. 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will launch an inquiry into allegations of malpractice at the West Bromwich plant that surfaced after an undercover investigation by The Guardian and ITV News.

As well as Boparan, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), The British Poultry Council and Assured Food Standards, which manages the Red Tractor logo, have been called to give evidence.

A short inquiry will be held on Wednesday 25 October. It will examine both the role and performance of regulatory bodies in maintaining food safety standards, and the ramifications for the poultry sector following the allegations.

2 Sisters Food Group confirmed Boparan had been called to give evidence, but declined to comment further on the matter.

News of the Commons inquiry comes less than a week after the FSA said it would investigate 12 more 2 Sisters poultry plants in England and Wales. This brings the total number of plants facing inspection to 13.

In response, a 2 Sisters spokesperson said: “We receive regular audits at all our English and Welsh sites by the FSA throughout the year, so of course we will welcome our FSA colleagues at any location they wish to inspect in the coming days.”

The FSA said it expected checks at all plants to be completed by the end of October.

It comes despite the fact that an initial inspection at the 2 Sisters West Bromwich plant found no risk to public health.

Heather Hancock, FSA chairman, explained that the investigation was broadened because “consumers deserve food they can trust and can be reassured that we take allegations of poor practice very seriously”.

She added that the FSA was “disappointed” information from The Guardian and ITV’s investigation had not been passed on to the agency.

2 Sisters supplies UK supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl. All five retailers have launched independent investigations and suspended trade with the company’s West Bromwich poultry factory.

What is 2 Sisters alleged to have done?

  • Chicken returned by supermarkets was said to have been repacked and resold
  • Meat was apparently dropped on the factory floor and returned to the production line
  • Slaughter dates were supposedly changed and use-by labels tended to reflect the freshest, not oldest, batches of chicken

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