An issue with meat supplier Russell Hume has resulted in a number of businesses, including pub companies Wetherspoon and Greene King, withdrawing its meat from premises as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigates it for “serious non-compliance with food-hygiene regulations”.
The FSA said: “Following an unannounced inspection of Russell Hume’s Birmingham site on 12 January, we became aware of instances of serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.”
As a result, the body and Food Standards Scotland are investigating all Russell Hume sites as well as other locations where its products are stored in England, Scotland and Wales, and also “stopped any product from leaving its sites” until the business can prove it is “producing safe food.”
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Wetherspoon took the decision on Monday (22 January) to withdraw sirloin steak, rump steak and gammon steak from our menu.”
Claiming Russell Hume “was not forthcoming with very much information,” Gershon continued: “However, we felt that things weren’t right and as a result immediately stopped our pubs from serving those three menu items.
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“It has since been announced that the FSA has made a full report on the company, however, we were not aware of this at the time of our decision. We simply felt that with limited knowledge of the situation, we could take no chances with our customers, many of who enjoy the three menu items currently off the menu.
“Wetherspoon is looking for alternative suppliers at present with the aim of having (sirloin, rump and gammon steaks) back on the menu within seven days. We apologise for the inconvenience to our customers, but stress that we are happy with the decision that we immediately took on Monday.”
Providing products to a number of outlets including hospitality and catering businesses, care homes and schools, pub companies Greene King and Marston’s, both of whom serve Russell Hume products, said they have “contingency plans in place which means (they) can continue to serve customers as normal.”
Speaking to the Morning Advertiser, a Marston’s spokesperson said: ‘As you would expect, we have contingency plans in place for situations such as this and a business such as (Marson’s) has multiple suppliers, however we are liaising closely with the FSA and Russell Hume.’