Poor food hygiene practices at Midlands meat wholesaler Russell Hume led Food Standards Agency (FSA) staff to stop any products leaving the company’s sites and to require the firm to recall unused meat from customers.
The action follows an unannounced inspection of Russell Hume’s Birmingham site on 12 January when the FSA found instances of serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.
Acting with Food Standards Scotland, all the firm’s sites were investigated, along with other sites where their products are stored in England, Scotland and Wales. The company could not show that it was complying with food hygiene rules, and the action to stop its products being distributed will last until it can show that it is complying with the law and producing safe food.
The firm had supplied meat to schools, care homes, hospitality and catering businesses – it is reviewing its procedures and retraining staff.
There is no suggestion that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.
Peter James, partner with Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ regulatory team and a specialist in food hygiene cases, said: “This kind of situation is disastrous both for the business and for its customers – it remains to be seen what problems the FSA had identified, but it has left customers searching for other suppliers and left Russell Hume’s reputation blemished.
“This illustrates why food hygiene is not just a matter of red tape – the regulations are a crucial part of business and must be complied with.”