Food Standards Agency eases emergency measures at 2 Sisters


2 Sisters, the food group that became the subject of a Parliamentary select committee inquiry, has been able to ease the emergency measures that were put in place.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has scaled back its full time presence in all 2 Sisters’ standalone poultry cutting plants and has reverted to unannounced inspections on a regular basis.

Claims about how 2 Sisters handled and labelled chicken products at its West Bromwich factory were first made in an investigation last year by the Guardian and ITN, which broadcast undercover footage from a production line at its West Bromwich site.

Its customers, which include most of the major supermarkets and food retailers, regulators and Parliament all sought answers from the Birmingham-based manufacturer.

The group has upgraded and installed CCTV to provide live monitoring of all sites, with the FSA having remote access to the system.

A 2 Sisters intelligence sharing group has also been created. FSA and 2 Sisters senior technical management review intelligence from consolidated audit results, feedback from company mystery employer and whistle-blower schemes, and regulatory audit and inspection results.

FSA chief executive Jason Feeney said: “Although still very much a pilot initiative we believe this could provide the template for a more effective, collaborative and transparent approach to regulatory assurance across the sector.”

His comments came in a progress report six months after the publication of the select committee’s own report.

In a statement, 2 Sisters said: “The business gave a strong commitment at the EFRA [Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] committee on October 25th 2017 that it would follow through.

“We welcome the FSA 6-month update report as it provides authoritative and independent verification that the business is on the right course and is indeed leading in several areas in relation to quality assurance.”