2 Sisters vow over hygiene standards in wake of MP visit
A huge chicken processing plant which shut down for three weeks in the wake of a food hygiene scandal has assured inspectors it has improved standards.
Two Sisters chief executive Ranjit Boparan had a 'wake-up call' when undercover journalists exposed problems at its West Bromwich plant, said visiting MP Neil Parish today.
The media produced evidence of chicken being relabelled to change the date of kill and meat which fell from a conveyor belt onto the floor being returned to the production line.
But following a tour of the plant and a meeting with Mr Boparan, Mr Parish, chairman of the environment, food and rural affairs committee, said: "I think they have really done a really job.
"They have looked into themselves; what happened with problems they had with the breakdown of the labelling and with food going back on to the conveyor belts which should never have been there.
"It really has brought them up short. We have said we are happy with what we've seen."
He added: "I think it's been a wake-up call and I think they have reacted and they have reacted well, but I have said as we left, 'you need to now maintain the standard, even improve it'."
Since appearing before the committee earlier this year, Mr Boparan has implemented several hygiene measures.
CCTV has been introduced in the plant which can be accessed by the Food Standard Agency. Footage is kept for six months.
Labelling showing the date of kill is now done for each individual tray of meat, rather than only pallets, which hold around 40 trays.
And half-an-hour breaks between deliveries have been introduced to ensure meats do not get mixed up.
Training has also been improved for workers.
Mr Parish said he would only return to plant if there was a problem, although the Food Standard Agency would continue to monitor the situation.
The firm, which also has a plant in Wolverhampton, announced in December it had suffered a near-£5 million hit to its profit.
It took the decision the to close the West Bromwich factory, which is in Dial Lane, for three weeks in October.
The company closed a site in Bevan Way in Smethwick in March with the loss of around 300 jobs. Another 290 were redeployed to other sites.
It supplies meat to major supermarkets including Tesco, Marks and Specer and Aldi.