After 2 Sisters moved swiftly on Monday (July 28) to publicise the results of FSA audits conducted following the Guardian’s claims last week, the FSA confirmed the factories had passed its requirements.
“The FSA conducted detailed audits at two 2 Sisters Food Group plants, Scunthorpe and Llangefni, on Friday 25 July,” the FSA said in a statement.
“Initial results from these two detailed and rigorous audits showed the plant at Scunthorpe as ‘Good’ and the plant at Llangefni as ‘Generally satisfactory’. The FSA will publish the completed audits in due course.”
Results of FSA audits now have four ratings: Good, Generally satisfactory, Improvement necessary and Urgent improvement necessary.
The Guardian article also singled out Faccenda for criticism, claiming workers at one of its abattoirs were flouting biosecurity rules and that both it and the 2 Sisters’ factories risked campylobacter contamination.
However, Faccenda HR and communications director Andrew Brodie told FoodManufacture.co.uk it had“categorically refuted the allegations”.
And in a statement responding to The Guardian’s article, Faccenda md Andy Dawkins said: “At Faccenda Foods, we recognise the food safety challenge posed by campylobacter and the concerns of consumers in this area.
“Through our Campylobacter Action Plan, Faccenda Foods continues to invest significantly across the whole supply chain to address this top priority issue. Our investment in current projects to tackle campylobacter is in excess of £1M.”
As part of the action plan, the company was working to improve farm biosecurity and had developed its ‘Simply roast in The Bag’ products for Asda, which meant consumers could avoid handling products at home.“We are committed to investing further to roll out the use of this technology in other products,” said Dawkins.
‘Trials later this year’
He also stressed: “We have committed significant resources to the development of innovative factory interventions to reduce campylobacter and will move to full-scale in-line trials later this year.”
2 Sisters said it had “consistently denied” the allegations in last week’s article in The Guardian as “untrue, misleading and inaccurate”.
Ranjit Singh, ceo of 2 Sisters, said: “We welcomed these audits and we are pleased the FSA has worked with typical rigor and thoroughness. We are satisfied with their findings which show that no legislative compliance issues were raised.
“However, we must not be complacent. We operate our business in an environment of continual improvement and we will be carrying on with that to ensure we produce first-class British products for all of our customers.
“We will continue to be at the forefront of our sector by investing in our sites and leading from the front in tackling key challenges to our industry like campylobacter.”
2 Sisters’ Scunthorpe and Llangefni factories supply customers including Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We take all allegations of this nature seriously and we are conducting additional visits to our poultry suppliers. If any issues are identified that go against our strict standards, we will work with our suppliers to resolve them.”
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury said: “Customers rightly expect our food to be of the highest safety standards and can be confident in the safety of products bought from our stores.
“We perform regular independent and in-house checks to ensure these standards are met and are investigating these allegations with 2 Sisters. All of our chicken products are labelled with cooking instructions and clear food safety advice.”
Marks & Spencer is also understood to be continuing to investigate the allegations.