Use-by dates among problems found at Russell Hume

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
1 February 2018

Processes and procedures around use-by dates were among the issues that led to the halting of all deliveries from meat producer Russell Hume.

The Food Standards Agency said following an initial inspection at the firm's Birmingham site "we became concerned that there was a more systemic and widespread problem which was more serious in terms of its scale and nature".

It said "issues of serious non-compliance" were uncovered and "these related to a number of issues including concerns about procedures and processes around use-by dates".

As a result of further inspections at other sites "Russell Hume have been required to stop all production at the plants and detain all products".

"We then worked with the company so that they could initiate a voluntary withdrawal of all affected products," said the FSA. "Until the business can provide assurances that they are complying with the relevant legislation and that they are producing safe food, no meat can leave their sites."

Russell Humes supplies the hospitality industry, including pubs, restaurants and hotels, as well as care homes and schools.

Businesses including JD Wetherspoon, Jamie's Italian and Hilton were forced to take action last week, including the withdrawal of meat from Wetherspoon's popular steak night.

Jason Feeney, chief executive officer at the FSA, said: "We don’t take decisions to stop production, instigate product recalls or withdrawals lightly.

"Our job is to ensure that food produced by a business is safe and clearly we must take a proportionate approach.

"We do recognise the potential impact of our decisions on business and peoples’ livelihoods. In the Russell Hume case our own unannounced inspection at one site gave us some cause for concern about non-compliance with food hygiene regulations, it was not triggered by any reports of ill health."

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