Indian ‘chicken king’ to resume scandal-hit UK factory

Indian ‘chicken king’ to resume scandal-hit UK factory
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London: Indian-origin “chicken king” Ranjit Singh Boparan’s 2 Sisters Food Group chicken factory in the UK is set to resume poultry production after being temporarily shut in wake of a hygiene scandal.

The scandal-ridden chicken factory in West Bromwich will restart production next week after “significant changes” at the plant and the introduction of full-time Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials to oversee its procedures, the Guardian reported on Friday.

The country’s largest supplier of supermarket chicken temporarily shut the plant five weeks ago, following undercover filming by the daily and ITV News that revealed poor hygiene standards and food safety records being altered.

The UK’s supermarket chains — Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Aldi — said they would resume taking supplies from the factory, where a team of M&S technologists had been working on site and as “the FSA will have a full-time presence at the site to support the 2 Sisters management team”.

Marks & Spencer said: “We have assessed the changes made at the site by 2 Sisters and are confident it can meet our high production standards. We will work closely with the site’s management team and the FSA in the coming weeks.”

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Tesco added: “Following the retraining programme carried out by 2 Sisters at its West Bromwich site, we can confirm we will begin to receive orders from the site again in the coming days.

Aldi said: “As a result of the remedial measures 2 Sisters Food Group have put in place we are satisfied that all issues have been resolved.”

A spokesman for 2 Sisters said: “We can confirm that following comprehensive retraining sessions with all colleagues during October, we are restarting production at our site D facility in West Bromwich (w/c 6 November).”

In September, Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl all announced they had suspended deliveries from the West Bromwich factory immediately after the airing of the undercover footage.

Sainsbury’s said it had no plans to resume supplies from the West Bromwich factory. Lidl said its position had not changed.

The scandal also led to Boparan being grilled in front of a parliamentary select committee in October, during which he apologised for the crisis and pledged to fund the cost of independent inspectors to police all 12 of his UK chicken sites.

–IANS