2 Sisters: Black Country chicken firm to face Commons inquiry today
The owner of the UK's largest supplier of supermarket chicken, based in the Black Country, is to appear before MPs this afternoon as part of an inquiry into allegations of food safety breaches.
Ranjit Singh Boparan, the chief executive and owner of the 2 Sisters Food Group, will be questioned by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee after an investigation allegedly revealed a string of health and safety breaches at the company's West Bromwich base.
The claims include older birds being dumped in with fresh stock but given the same sell-by date, while it is also alleged that chickens had been thrown back on the production line after falling on the floor and that records of where the birds were slaughtered were also altered, making them difficult to trace.
As well as taking evidence from Bilston-born Mr Boparan, today's hearing will also hear from representatives of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the British Poultry Council and Assured Food Standards, which promotes and regulates food quality and licenses the Red Tractor quality mark.
2 Sisters responded to the hygiene breach claims launching its own internal investigation at its West Bromwich plant and inviting the FSA to independently review its standards.
The FSA said at the time that it had found no evidence of breaches during an inspection of the plant but that it was still reviewing evidence.
The allegations led to Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl suspending buying chicken from the company.
Efra committee chairman Neil Parish said: "We hope that looking into the recent reports of malpractice at the 2 Sisters plant will assist in rectifying the situation and putting in place safeguards that mean similar incidents do not happen again.
"This case highlights how important it is for the regulatory and accreditation bodies to work together effectively and restore confidence in both public food hygiene and farming across the country."
2 Sisters was founded in 1993 and now produces one third of all of the poultry products consumed in the UK, and had revenues of £3.1 billion in 2016.