The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have announced an industry-wide review of meat cutting premises and cold stores.

This review comes just weeks after the ongoing inspection of Russell Hume establishments identified non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.

Chair of the FSA, Heather Hancock and Chair of FSS, Ross Finnie both said: “In the last six months the FSA and FSS have faced two serious incidents involving major players in the meat sector.

“People rightly expect food businesses to keep to the rules, rules designed to keep consumers safe and to sustain public trust in food and food businesses have a duty to follow the regulations.

“In the light of these recent incidents, the FSA and FSS will be taking forward reviews of cutting plants and cold stores used for meat. Further details will be published later this month and the results will be fully available to the public.”

The agencies’ areas of interest include ‘the extended use of use by dates’ and ‘food safety management’ systems in place at premises.

Chief Executive of the FSA, Jason Feeney, has ensured the disposal of products at contaminated sites.

He said: “Our investigation into the major non-compliances we found at the Russell Hume plants in England and Scotland is intensifying. We have already stopped these plants producing meat products, have ensured the withdrawal and disposal of the products and now we are looking at the root cause of the incident and any culpability.

“The investigation is looking into all aspects of the business to establish more details about the serious and widespread problems that we identified. This will then determine whether additional enforcement action should be taken.”

While there is no suggestion that diners have taken ill after consuming Russell Hume meat, both agencies are continuing to assess premises alongside public health bodies.