The Food Standards Agency (FSA) removed its permanent inspectors from 2 Sisters’ poultry cutting plants at the end of April after a raft of new systems put in place to improve transparency came online.
In late September last year a Guardian/ITV investigation uncovered purported wrongdoing at 2 Sisters’ West Bromwich cutting plant, which led to then chief executive Ranjit Singh being summoned before MPs to explain standards.
At that hearing, he agreed to a range of measures, including:
Mr Singh also agreed to installing FSA inspectors in all 2 Sisters plants at the company’s expense.
In a letter to MPs, published in early June, FSA chief executive Jason Feeney said the full-time presence of its staff on sites was no longer required. It detailed that the CCTV systems, due to be fully operational in May, would be accessible by the FSA in real time, and that extensive staff training had already taken place.
The letter also reveals that Red Tractor inspectors had made 30 unannounced audits at 12 2 Sisters sites since last September.
It has also moved towards sharing more audit data with other assurance bodies, such as the British Retail Consortium.
In the letter, Mr Feeney wrote: “We are confident the emergency measures of full time presence in all 2SFG standalone poultry cutting plants is no longer required. On this basis cutting plant supervision stopped at the end of April and we have moved to unannounced inspections in all the cutting plants on a regular basis.”
A 2 Sisters spokesman said: “We welcome the FSA 6-month update report as it provides authoritative and independent verification that the business is on the right course and is indeed leading in several areas in relation to quality assurance.”