The Food Standards Agency launched National Food Safety Week on Monday and this year’s theme is the work of its staff making sure our food is safe.

The idea is for the awareness week to shine a light on the people who protect the food supply chain and ensure food safety and those tackling food crime. The slogan being used this year is 'the people who protect your plate'.

Lots of this work is carried out in partnerships with local authorities and many have jumped on-board the campaign, particularly on social media. On Twitter #FoodSafetyWeek has its own hashtag.

East Hampshire District Council, for example, celebrated its environmental health team on Twitter with a dancing food gif while Wigan Council put out a video trailing one of its EHOs explaining how it has improved food hygiene ratings in its area.

Lots of councils tweeted pictures of premises with poor hygiene that they had inspected and improved, as well as helpful tips for the public about the difference between ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’.

The awareness week even picked up some attention on Facebook and Instagram with pictures of fresh food, the food hygiene rating card, and more tips of food safe storage. But Twitter was the place to be.

Food Standards Agency CEO Jason Feeney said: ‘The UK has globally respected food standards, and our food and drink is rightly regarded as some of the safest in the world. More than one billion food products are sold every week.

‘It’s the responsibility of every food business – from abattoirs to corner shops, Michelin-starred restaurants to your favourite take-away – to comply with food regulations.

‘This week we want to recognise the behind-the-scenes people throughout the food chain who work hard every day of the year to make sure businesses follow the rules and our food standards remain high.’

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A RUBERY grandmother is walking the Great Wall of China in October in memory of her son and to raise £3,000 for Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Joan Goodger, 61, lost her son Paul in 1995 at the age of 12 after he was diagnosed with an in-operable brain tumour four years earlier.

During those years volunteers from Acorns supported the Goodger family and helped them deal with the grief afterwards.

Mrs Goodger said: “Paul went from a cradle to a coffin in 12 short years. I was not expecting to arrange a funeral for my own son.”

He was the eldest of four boys and also left three sisters behind.

Mrs Goodger added: “You hope you will never need Acorns’ services – it’s unimaginable – but at the same time I’m so thankful it’s in place for anyone who does.

“I have three healthy grandchildren who, thankfully, do not need support but there are many children out there who still do.”

Mrs Goodger is taking the trek along the Great Wall of China very seriously, with training already under way.

She has started walking up and down the Malvern Hills with a Snowdonia guide, who plans to get her fit and ready.

The hospice in Selly Oak, where Paul passed away, donated a statue of a little boy to Mrs Goodger who said she still ‘treasured it’ and was ‘so thankful’ for the gift as it would remind her of Paul when she began the trek.

“Right now I am not fit and will need to train hard for this challenge.

“I will do it thinking of my son the whole way. He was a brave and inspirational child.”

Visit for more information or to donate.

Joan's Great Wall of China Trek

I am walking the Great Wall of China Trek for Acorns Children's Hospice Trust because my son Paul died in Acorns & I want to give back.

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The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland are today publishing details of a major review into the sites where meat products are processed and stored in the UK.

Food Standards Scotland and Food Standards Agency announce:

  • Launch of comprehensive review of hygiene controls
  • Review includes unannounced inspections and audit regimes
  • Food Standards Agency announce:
  • Work with industry to implement CCTV across cutting plants
  • Increased intelligence gathering through audit data sharing pilots across industry
  • Improved insight into circumstances and factors leading to non-compliances and ability to anticipate them

Announcement in detail:

Also published today is the FSA’s update to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s inquiry into standards in poultry processing and the findings of the FSA’s investigation into 2 Sisters Food Group.

Jason Feeney and Geoff Ogle, Chief Executives of the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland respectively, jointly commented:

“We are concerned about recent instances of companies breaching hygiene rules. 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. Our review will be far reaching and thorough and we will announce our initial findings in June.”

“We are pleased that the meat industry representatives who we met with have pledged their full and effective engagement with the review.”

The review being launched today will aim to:

  • Increase public and stakeholder confidence in the meat industry and its regulation
  • Improve the ability to identify non-compliance and take prompt action to minimise the risk to public health and food safety
  • Assess how the industry currently operates across the whole supply chain.
  • Increase awareness of circumstances and factors which can lead to non-compliance
  • The scope of the review will incorporate:
  • All types of cutting plants (red meat, white meat and game)
  • How the current legislation works and the guidance supporting it
  • How the ‘official controls’ are carried out which must be followed to ensure compliance with hygiene legislative requirements (this includes audits, inspections, sampling and surveillance)
  • The roles and responsibilities of food businesses, regulators and assurance bodies
  • How incidents are managed and responded to

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry and findings from 2 Sisters Food Group investigation

Assurance bodies, 2 Sisters Food Group and the FSA have also responded to recommendations made by the Parliamentary inquiry into poultry cutting plants. We have also published the outcome of FSA’s investigation into allegations of food hygiene and standards breaches at 2 Sisters.

In response to the inquiry the FSA will work with industry on a voluntary protocol for adoption of CCTV in meat processing plants and will consult on legislating to implement them if necessary.

FSA will also be running pilots to improve data and intelligence sharing across the industry and is pursuing increased investigatory powers for the National Food Crime Unit.

The investigation into 2 Sisters Food Group has been extensive and thorough and looked across their poultry sites.

500 hours of CCTV from the site were examined along with audit information from major retailers. The company voluntarily ceased production at one site whilst changes were made and staff re-trained. The FSA have had a permanent presence at their cutting plants for the last four months.

Jason Feeney, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency said:

“Our investigation found some areas for improvement but the issues were resolved promptly by the company, who co-operated fully, and at no point did we find it necessary to take formal enforcement action.”

“The business has made a wide range of improvements across all their sites to improve processes. They are already publishing the outcomes of all their audits and are in the process of installing high quality CCTV across their estate that we will have full access to. These are measures we would like the whole industry to adopt.”


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A major supplier of meat to schools, care homes and retail chains including Wetherspoon’s and the Jamie Oliver Group is under suspicion of serious food safety offences after all its meat supplies were recalled earlier this week.

Suspected breaches of hygiene and labelling regulations were initially discovered on 12 January following an unannounced inspection of Russell Hume’s Birmingham plant.

Russell Hume is a Derby-based meat supplier with seven sites across the UK describing itself as ‘one of the UK’s leading meat specialists providing’. The company had a turnover £129 million in 2015.

It was nine days after the initial inspection that the FSA placed a stop on any meat leaving any Russell Hume plant and asked for all unused meat supplied by the firm to be withdrawn from outlets, including hospitality and catering businesses, care homes and schools.

In a statement 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.

‘This has led us and Food Standards Scotland to investigate all Russell Hume sites, and other locations where their product is stored, in England, Scotland and Wales. Russell Hume were unable to demonstrate compliance with food hygiene rules at its locations, so we have stopped any product from leaving their sites until the business can provide assurances that they are complying with the relevant legislation.’

The delay between the FSA discovering a problem at the firm’s Birmingham plant and the withdrawal of the suspect meat has raised questions around how events unfolded.

Signs that there was something wrong first started to appear when social media went onto ferment after Wetherspoon’s withdrew all its steaks nationally on Tuesday night, which just happened to be the pub chains ‘steak night’.

‘It is essential that the FSA provides clarification about what exactly has happened at Russsell Hume,’ said Tony Lewis, CIEH head of policy. ‘As the statements made by the respective parties simply do not add up.

‘Russell Hume has been under investigation for 12 days, and the public will want to know what breaches of the food hygiene regulations are they talking about, what action have they taken and can the FSA guarantee that no unsafe meat has entered the food chain from this source?’

The FSA must put consumers first and properly explain the situation. The public needs to know the full range of products affected and teh extent of distribution across the UK,' added Mr Lewis.

Russel Hume is proving difficult to contact while its website went offline yesterday. However, it did release a press statement to ITV reporters on Wednesday.

It states the actions of the FSA had ‘come as a serious shock’. It adds the company was ‘well aware of the strict controls over the sale and supply of food’ and that it has had regular FSA and other agency visits and audits where their ‘practices and compliance have never been challenged like this... there has never been a suggestion of any Russell Hume-supplied product causing illness.

‘Unfortunately, the FSA actions and its notice have created a very different impression.’ The company also says it is cooperating fully with the FSA, but cannot comment on the investigations since they are ongoing.

The FSA statement also confirms that ‘there is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume’.

The FSA goes on to say: ‘However, we are concerned about the poor practices in place at their premises so that is why we have taken proportionate action to ensure no meat can leave their sites at present. We are continuing to assess the situation.’

Outlets impacted by the effective shut down of Russel Hume have found new suppliers. The firms supplied by the firm include: Wetherspoon’s, Jamie’s Italian, Tiger Tiger, Marston’s pubs, and Butlins.

Following the 2Sisters investigation this is the second food safety incident involving a major supplier in as many months.

‘These incidents demonstrate the importance of robust, regular and unannounced, inspections of these kind of establishments by competent environmental health professionals.’

An FSA spokesperson told EHN the agency is unable to comment beyond its released statement as it may prejudice the investigation.

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