All meat distribution from Russell Hume has been suspended pending an ongoing investigation by the Food Standards Agency.
Meat products have also been recalled from care homes and schools alongside many other catering and hospitality businesses. The Food Advice Service understands this is also connected to the recent lack of steak at Wetherspoon’s Steak Night.
Inspectors made an unannounced visit to Russell Hume’s Birmingham site on 12 January. Serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations was found.
The Food Standards Agency, working with Food Standards Scotland have investigated all Russell Hume sites, and other locations where their products are stored across England, Scotland and Wales.
Russell Hume were unable to demonstrate compliance with food hygiene rules at its locations. So authorities have stopped any product from leaving their sites until Russell Hume guarantee they are producing safe food.
The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland also instructed Russell Hume to undertake a withdrawal of all affected products in the supply chain.
The Agencies say no people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume. They are concerned about the poor practices in place at Russell Hume premises and took proportionate action to ensure no meat can enter the food chain.
All unused meat supplied by Russell Hume has been withdrawn, and the company is co-operating with investigators. The company is currently reviewing its procedures and retraining its staff.
Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland investigations are ongoing, and further updates can be expected.
Jamie’s Italian, Tiger Tiger, Marston’s Pubs, Greene King Pubs, Butlins and Hilton Hotels have also been forced to recall products. Television channel QVC has announced it will refund customers who purchased Russell Hume meat from them over the last six months. Customers who have meat products purchased from Russell Hume via QVC are advised not to eat the products.
Investigations by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland continue. Together they have announced a review into the operation of meat cutting premises (otherwise known as wholesale butchers). Further details of the process involved in the review will be published later in February. It is anticipated that other issues and problems may be detected.
The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland worked closely with the business to address concerns raised by the investigation. As a result, FSA are assured that food being produced at the Russell Hume Liverpool site is compliant. FSA staff will remain present during operations.
The lifting of the statutory notice will have no impact on the ongoing FSA and FSS investigation which is continuing and staff from both organisations remain present at sites in England and Scotland.