Last month, production across the company’s sites ceased and products were recalled after an investigation was launched by the FSA and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) into allegations of non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.
The business had supplied clients such as Wetherspoon pubs, Jamie Oliver restaurants, and brewers Greene King and Marston’s.
In a joint statement, Russell Hume’s directors said: “Unfortunately, the FSA’s action created impossible trading conditions for us and, after careful reflection, we have decided the best thing for the company and its creditors is to put Russell Hume into administration.”
The directors claimed that the FSA investigation was “out of all proportion”.
“We will continue to work with the FSA with regards to the issues it raised, but we still feel its action has been out of all proportion to the concerns it says it has identified. Had it worked more closely with us in the crucial early stages of the situation, then more than 300 jobs might not have been lost.
“The fact that its investigations have become industry-wide and a number of other firms have also had issues, strongly suggests there is a lack of clarity in the industry and in current FSA guidelines.”
The directors also pointed to the company’s previously unblemished record. “Prior to this, we had a long, unblemished record for supplying quality meat products. We would like to thank our customers for their support, but above all our loyal and hard-working staff, some of whom have been with us a great many years.
“They were all an integral part of our success, and we are very sorry the Russell Hume story should have ended in such a sudden and devastating way. Our thoughts today are with them and their families.”
Russell Hume operates across seven sites in England and Scotland, with 302 employees. Administration proceedings are expected to result in the loss of 266 jobs across the business.
Chris Pole and Mark Orton from KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators to Russell Hume.
Pole, a partner at KPMG, said: “The recent product recall and halt in operations have caused significant customer attrition and trading difficulties, which in turn have led the directors to take the decision to place the company into administration.
“Regrettably, with little prospect of production restarting on-site, a total of 266 people have been made redundant. Our priority over the coming days will be to work with all affected employees to provide the assistance they need in claiming monies owed from the Redundancy Payments Office.
“We will also be seeking buyers for the business and its assets. Any interested parties are advised to contact us as soon as possible.”
Food Manufacture was awaiting a statement from the FSA as this article was published.