In a letter to MP Neil Parish, chair of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee, Boparan said group technical director Chris Gilbert-Wood met the FSA on 1 February to discuss the Kroll report on its West Bromwich factory site D. The outcome had been 'inconclusive', he said, but the company was implementing a raft of procedural changes in response to the EFRA report.
Boparan stated that the roll-out of CCTV monitoring to 2 Sisters’ poultry factories was due to be completed by 19 June. He announced he was stepping down as the chief executive (CEO) of 2SFG to become president of Boparan Holdings Limited, 2SFG’s parent company earlier this month.
“The CCTV installation at Site D has now been fully completed. The FSA visited Site D w/c 22nd January and were happy with CCTV monitoring now available at the site. Once several of the site implementations are complete we will organise for remote access to the CCTV to be granted to the FSA.”
The letter also acknowledged that an invitation had been sent on 27 October to Parish and the other EFRA committee members to carry out an unannounced or announced visit to a 2SFG plant.
2SFG had started a “mystery worker” programme on 5 February, which would implant mystery workers into its poultry factories and would be sharing its outcomes with the FSA, Boparan stated. FSA inspectors had also been positioned in all poultry cutting sites, including site D.
A new system of labelling has been implemented within the business that involved putting labels on individual plastic tray lines, replacing previous labelling of outer trays, Boparan said.
He said a two-minute gap between implementing kill date, slaughter plant and raw material tags had been imposed in factories, according to FSA instructions.
2 Sisters was in the process of developing a culture change plan and said it was in the final stages of appointing an external change consultant.
The company has also shared site D CCTV footage with the FSA and said it would continue to monitor CCTV.
Legal negotiations were underway to settle the case of the dismissed 2 Sisters worker involved in the controversy.
Boparan’s letter was dated 16 February and published on the UK government’s website on 19 March.
The joint Guardian and ITV expose of 2 Sisters Food Group’s hygiene and labelling practices by undercover reporting at site D broke at the end of September. Allegations included that raw chicken had been dropped on the floor and returned for processing and that date use-by date labels had been altered, effectively extending product shelf-life.
Supplies from the factory to several top grocery retailers was temporarily halted while they conducted independent investigations into the situation. They have since been reinstated.
The issue prompted a hearing, and subsequent report, by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs committee and an investigation by the FSA, results of which were announced earlier this month.