homeSaturday 23rd February 2019

Russell Hume site re-opens

Katie Coyne08/02/2018 - 14:00

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Steak from Russell Hume was withdrawn
Steak from Russell Hume was withdrawn

Meat supplier Russell Hume at the centre of serious food safety scare has been given the go-ahead to reopen one of its sites.

All of the firm's six processing sites across England, Scotland, and Wales were closed two weeks ago for 'serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations'.

Meat going out of the sites was stopped and the firm voluntarily recalled all affected product in the supply chain. However, the FSA has since said that the firm's Liverpool site can reopen.

The agency said the reopening was on the basis that food produced at the site was now in compliance with food hygiene legislation.

The FSA were originally alerted to problems across the cold stores after carrying out a spot check at the firm's site in Great Barr, Birmingham, on 12 January.

It discovered that the problems were 'more systemic and widespread' that were 'more serious in terms of its scale and nature'.

Problems highlighted included concerns around food safety procedures and fears that use by dates had been extended. The four other sites affected included: Pride Park, in Derby; Sowton, in Exeter; Inverkeithing, Scotland; and Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.

When news of Russell Hume emerged, CIEH head of policy Tony Lewis called for 'an urgent independent review of processes and procedures surrounding FSA approved premises in light of these events and the 2 Sisters scandal.This call has since been heeded by FSA who have confirmed that such a review is to be undertaken.

'These incidents demonstrate the importance of robust, regular and unannounced, inspections of these kind of establishments by competent environmental health experts and we are pleased that FSA has decided to pursue this approach.'

The 2 Sisters Food Group chicken factory in West Bromwich was forced to temporarily close last year, following undercover filming by the Guardian and ITV News revealing poor hygiene standards and food safety records being altered.

The FSA has announced that it will be undertaking a review of meat cutting premises and cold stores.

A spokesperson said the review was already planned but has been brought forward in light of the two recent scares. However, the scale and scope of the investigation has yet to be determined.

Multiple retailers have been affected, including Wetherspoon, Greene King, and Marston's pubs, Jamie's Italian, some Hilton hotels, Tiger Tiger, Butlins and schools and care homes.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Wetherspoon cancelled its contract with Russell Hume following the food safety scare removing meat from its menu on the chain's weekly steak night promotion and has found new suppliers.

The FSA and FSS has said the lifting of the statutory notice on the Liverpool site will not effect the ongoing investigation and staff from both organisations will remain a the sites.

Jason Feeney, chief executive of the FSA said: 'Our investigation into the major non-compliances we found at the Russell Hume plants in England and Scotland is intensifying.'

He added: '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. Therefore we will be unable to make any further comments on the detail of the investigation.’


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