Investigatiors find suppliers selling chicken after 'use by' date to UK supermarkets

30 Sep 2017


Supermarkets have been warned they may be selling chicken past its 'use by' date after breaches of food safety rules were reported at a factory run by 2 Sisters Food Group.

Workers at the factory, which supplies thousands of supermarkets, were seen changing the date on the labels to artificially extend their shelf life.

An undercover investigation by The Guardian and ITV News filmed workers mislabelling the slaughter date on poultry at the food plant.

The 2 Sisters Food Group produces a third of all poultry products consumed in the UK with thousands of supermarkets as clients, including Tesco, Sainsbury's, M&S, Aldi and Lidl.

The company's food safety practices are now being investigated by several retailers.

Factory workers at the plant were also found to be changing the source codes on crates of chicken crowns so that it would not be possible to trace a potential food poisoning outbreak to the poultry.

The claims were confirmed by over 20 workers who were interviewed during the course of the investigation.

The reporter who carried out the sting operation, posing as an employee at the factory observed chicken, which had fallen to the ground being returned to the production line.

Meanwhile, ITV reported that the company employs people to monitor the production line and enforce food safety rules but the quality assurance workers told ITV that they were intimidated by production managers and fear of being sent home if they intervened.

A former employee told ITV that they were treated like "the enemy" by production staff and that they felt their job was "pointless".

Professor Chris Elliot, a food scientist at Queen's University Belfast, who led the government's inquiry into food safety following the horsemeat scandal in 2013 (See: Horse meat scandal expected to trigger higher regulation), with whom the investigators shared their findings told ITV, "There are major concerns about food hygiene...I think [your] report absolutely calls out for a full investigation". "I think the Food Standards Agency will take this very seriously, they will inspect and look at the premises and see if there are grounds to close the facility down."

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