Indian-origin 'chicken king' to reopen scandal-hit UK plant
London: Britain's Indian-origin 'chicken king' Ranjit Singh Boparan is set to resume poultry production at his UK factory which had been suspended in the wake of a hygiene scandal.
Boparan's 2 Sisters Food Group said its factory in West Bromwich will reopen next week after "significant changes" had been made at the plant, including retraining of staff and the introduction of full-time UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials to oversee its procedures.
"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)," 2 Sisters said in a statement.
It said staff had acted with understanding and professionalism during the "unsettling period" of closure of about five weeks in the wake of a joint 'Guardian' and ITV News undercover investigation revealing an instance of workers at the plant altering the source and slaughter date of poultry being processed at Site D, potentially rendering it unsafe.
Other sections of the footage, which was filmed in August, showed chicken being picked off the floor and thrown back on to the production line, and older poultry being mixed with fresher birds.
2 Sisters Group is among the UK's largest suppliers of poultry to supermarkets in the country, many of whom have confirmed they will resume supplies from the factory.
"We are satisfied the issues have been addressed and work will now be carried out to our high production standards," said Tesco, a view echoed by other supermarkets like Marks & Spencer and Aldi.
However, a few other supermarkets are yet to change their mind about sourcing poultry from the factory, including Sainsbury's and Lidl.
Last month, Boparan had apologised for the "mistakes" and revealed that he has hired a "mystery worker" to spot breaches at his factories in future.
He laid out his new stricter safety plans as he faced the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee and assured MPs that "food safety is our highest agenda".