The review follows serious failings at two major meat companies that supply restaurants.
In January Russell Hume, which supplied the Jamie Oliver Group and JD Wetherspoon, had its production shut down after the FSA raised concerns over ‘major non-compliances’ with food hygiene regulations following a surprise inspection of its Birmingham site on 12 January. The business has since collapsed into administration.
Late last year, 2 Sisters Food Group had to suspend production at its West Bromwich plant for five weeks following a Guardian and ITV undercover investigation that raised questions over the firm’s food standards.
The wide-ranging review will cover sites where meat products are processed and stored with the initial findings expected to be released in June.
The two agencies say the project will involve a comprehensive review of hygiene controls and unannounced inspections and audit regimes.
The review will also see the FSA and FSS work with industry to implement CCTV across cutting plants; increase intelligence gathering through audit data sharing pilots across industry; and improve insight into circumstances and factors leading to non-compliance.
“We are concerned about recent instances of companies breaching hygiene rules,” says FSA chief executive Jason Feeney. “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.
“We are pleased that the meat industry representatives who we met with have pledged their full and effective engagement with the review.”
UK Hospitality has welcomed the review. "The hospitality industry is a major stakeholder in this review, and we are very keen to offer assistance in this important area of work," says a spokesperson. "Recent failures in the system have resulted in serious reputational and financial damage to our members."
"At the end of the supply chain, we can offer great insight to this review, and going forward can leverage influence over our suppliers once clear direction has been given. We are disappointed that there will be no analysis or review of scientific evidence, as this is pivotal for any risk assessment."
“We have already raised questions to the FSA regarding best practice on behalf of our members, who have raised concerns about the complexity of the legislation and guidance, and we are keen to help our members achieve the highest standards.”