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Poultry firm’s ‘bold’ move to open up audit results

PUBLISHED: 12:10 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:58 22 December 2017

2 Sisters Food Group's factory at Flixton, near Bungay. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

2 Sisters Food Group's factory at Flixton, near Bungay. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A poultry firm with operations in East Anglia is making its inspection audit results public in what it says is an industry first.

2 Sisters Food Group's factory at Flixton, near Bungay. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN2 Sisters Food Group's factory at Flixton, near Bungay. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

2 Sisters Food Group, which has factories at Flixton in north Suffolk, Witham in Essex and Thetford in Norfolk, says it wants to make its processes more transparent by sharing audit and inspection information from its customers, owners and regulatory bodies.

The firm has faced a tough year after it was hit by food safety allegations and came under the scrutiny of the Parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee. An investigation into standards at its West Bromwich factory led to suspension of operations in October while an intensive retraining programme for its staff was carried out.

“One of the things we have decided to do is to be more transparent so people can see exactly the number of audits we carry out,” a company spokesperson said, adding that it was “an industry first”. “It’s groundbreaking and we are being as transparent as we can.”

The company said it decided to act after the select committee raised a concern at the lack of joined up intelligence and knowledge sharing across the food industry amongst manufacturers, regulators and retailers.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of Boparan Private Office.Ranjit Singh Boparan, owner of Boparan Private Office.

“Commentators, regulators and consumer groups are agreed that transparency within food supply chains provides consumers with necessary assurance about the safety, quality and provenance of their food,” it said. “We will be the first in the industry to do this and we hope this bold step will allow us to work with regulators, standard owners and customers to develop a system for all to use.”

Inspection data it has published show its Flixton and Witham plants achieved an A+ in brand reputation compliance (BRC), the plus indicating an unannounced audit. At Flixton, there were 12 audits and inspections. Nine systems or processes were needing improvement and one was outstanding. A further 29 systems or processes ‘could be improved’ and three of these were still open. At Witham, there were five audits and inspections and no systems or processes required to be improved. Of 44 that could be improved, three were outstanding. Across all plants, no food safety issues were identified, according to its data.

Owner Ranjit Singh Boparan also owns East Anglia-based turkey firm Bernard Matthews.

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