Russell Hume in ‘serious non-compliance’ with food hygiene regulations

Russell Hume, the meat specialist, has been stopped from supplying meat after an unannounced inspection by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found instances of “serious non-compliance” with food hygiene regulations. 

The FSA found the issues at Russell Hume’s Birmingham site during the visit on 12 January, which led it, along with Food Standards Scotland, to investigate all of the company’s sites, and other locations where their product is stored, in England, Scotland and Wales.

The meat supplier distributes to a range of outlets, including hospitality and catering businesses, and care homes and schools.

According to its LinkedIn listing, the privately-owned company has its headquarters in Derby and was founded in 1996. Its website was down as the news of the non-compliance was revealed by the FSA. 

The FSA said that Russell Hume was unable to demonstrate compliance with food hygiene rules at its locations. The result was that it stopped any product from leaving its sites until the business could provide assurances that it was complying with the relevant legislation and producing safe food.

The FSA said: “We have also instructed Russell Hume to undertake a withdrawal of all affected products in the supply chain.

“We are concerned about the poor practices in place at their premises, so that is why we have taken proportionate action to ensure no meat can leave their sites at present.”

However, the FSA did confirm there was no indication that people had become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.

It also said that the company was co-operating with its investigation and was currently reviewing its procedures and retraining its staff.

The FSA said it would continue to assess the situation.

Despite repeated calls to Russell Hume, nobody was available for comment.

This is not the first time a supplier has been has been accused of failing in its health and safety obligations.

In October 2017, Ranjit Boparan, boss of 2 Sisters Food Group, faced a grilling from MPs on the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, after allegations were made about food, hygiene and welfare breaches at the company’s West Bromwich plant. The hearing followed a joint undercover investigation by The Guardian and ITN News

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed its extreme concern at the Russell Hume situation.

Head of policy Tony Lewis said:

“This is deeply worrying, and it is essential that the FSA comes out and provides clarification about what exactly has been going on regarding Russell Hume. The public has been kept in the dark about the extent of the problem, and the statements made by the respective parties simply do not add up.

"It now transpires that Russell Hume has been under investigation for 12 days, and the public will want to know what the FSA has been doing in that timeframe. Can the FSA now guarantee that no unsafe meat has already entered the food chain from this source?

"The FSA must put consumers first and properly explain the situation and their actions. We need to know the full range of products affected and the extent of distribution across the UK."

He also called for a review of how food businesses are inspected.  

"We also want to see an urgent independent review of processes and procedures surrounding FSA approved premises in light of these events and the 2 Sisters scandal.

"These incidents demonstrate the importance of robust, regular and unannounced, inspections of these kind of establishments by competent environmental health experts. “ 

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