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Food group suspends operations
2 Sisters said it was ‘shocked and distressed’ by the allegations and footage. (stock photo)
2 Sisters to retrain staff after Guardian/ITV footage

The 2 Sisters Food Group has suspended operations at its West Bromwich plant after an undercover investigation highlighted food safety concerns.

Workers at the site were covertly filmed in August as part of an investigation by the Guardian and ITV. The footage, released last week, shows a worker changing the source and slaughter date of poultry, which could result in consumers buying meat past its use by date.

Changing the reference number that shows where birds were slaughtered also makes the meat untraceable should there be a food safety problem.

Journalists filmed a worker picking chicken up from the floor and putting it back on the production line, and older poultry was mixed with fresher meat. Unsold meat returned by a supermarket was also repackaged and sent back to a different supermarket.

2 Sisters said it was ‘shocked and distressed’ by the allegations and footage. After launching its own internal investigation, the group says it has identified ‘some isolated instances’ of non-compliance with its quality management systems, and has therefore decided to suspend operations at the site to allow time for retraining all of its staff.

In a statement, it said: ‘We will only recommence supply once we are satisfied that our colleagues have been appropriately retrained.’

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also begun an investigation at the plant. So far it says its inspectors ‘have found no evidence of breaches’.

However, it is continuing to review the evidence and promises to take prompt and appropriate action if any breaches are found. The agency is also urging anyone with information on this investigation to contact them.

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Gucci pledges to go fur-free

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 Italian fashion house Gucci has announced that it will no longer use animal fur in its designs. Gucci’s president & CEO Marco Bizzarri made the announcement on Wednesday (October 11) at The London College of Fashion.

The move follows a long-standing relationship with The Humane Society of the United States and LAV - members of the international Fur Free alliance. Gucci’s fur-free policy includes mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, karakul and all other species bred or caught for fur.  

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Avian flu text alert service launched in Northern Ireland

A new text system to alert bird keepers to the threat of avian flu has been launched in Northern Ireland. The service will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Keepers who have already provided NI's Department of Agriculture with a valid mobile number have automatically been subscribed to the service and notified by text. Bird keepers who have not yet received a text should text ‘BIRDS’ to 67300 to register.