Serious non-compliance issues at poultry and other meat plants have prompted the Food Standards Agency to order a review of cutting plants and cold stores.
It has taken the decision to undertake a review following investigations at poultry plants operated by 2 Sisters Food Group and Russell Hume, which processes poultry and other meat.
The review will be established later this month. In a joint statement, Heather Hancock, FSA chair and Ross Finnie, chair of Food Standards Scotland, said: “In the last six months the FSA and FSS have faced two serious incidents involving major players in the meat sector.
“People rightly expect food businesses to keep to the rules, rules designed to keep consumers safe and to sustain public trust in food – and food businesses have a duty to follow the regulations.”
Meanwhile, both the FSA and FSS are continuing to investigate Russell Hume on issues around extended use of use by dates and the food safety management system the business has in place.
Jason Feeney, FSA chief executive, said investigations into major non-compliance at Russell Hume were intensifying: “We have already stopped these plants producing meat products, have ensured the withdrawal and disposal of the products and now we are looking at the root causes of the incident and any culpability.
“The investigation is looking into all aspects of the business to establish more details about the serious and widespread problems that we identified. This will then determine whether additional enforcement action should be taken.”
The FSA added that it had no indication of anyone becoming ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.
A spokesman for 2 Sisters told the Guardian: “We welcome any further reviews the FSA would wish to carry out on all cutting facilities in the UK.”