UK Food Tycoon Ranjit Singh Boparan Faces Probe Over Food Safety Concerns
Staff at Boparan’s 2 Sisters Food Group allegedly altered the use-by date of chicken to show an extended shelf life.
British Indian business tycoon Ranjit Singh Boparan is facing a parliamentary inquiry following reports that the staff at a plant of his 2 Sisters Food Group altered the use-by date of chicken to show an extended shelf life. Leading departmental stores like Aldi, Lidl, and Marks and Spencer suspended buying chicken from the West Bromwich plant of the company after reports surfaced that the supermarket packaging showed the wrong use-by date.
The Boparan-owned 2 Sisters Food Group, one of the largest food manufacturing companies in the United Kingdom, will be probed after a joint investigation by the Guardian and ITV News showed footage of workers altering the source and slaughter date of poultry being processed at the plant.
Neil Parish, the Chairman of Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said he was planning to call Boparan to Westminster to answer questions over the issue, IANS reported. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also launched an investigation into the company, which produces a third of all poultry products eaten in the UK.
The footages obtained by the media houses showed “workers changing both the date of slaughter and the source codes on crates of chicken crowns in such a way that artificially extended the meat’s shelf-life and rendered it almost untraceable in the event of an outbreak of food poisoning,” ITV news said.
“On several occasions, workers returning chicken to the production line after it had fallen to the floor. This may have caused it to become contaminated,” it added.
The issue has been taken very seriously by the 2 Sisters Group, the company said in a statement. “If, on presentation of further evidence, it comes to light any verifiable transgressions have been made at any of our sites, we will leave no stone unturned in investigating and remedying the situation immediately,” the statement said.
UK’s “Chicken King”
The 51-year-old Boparan, known as UK’s “chicken king”, also owns the Goodfella’s frozen pizza brand, Fox’s biscuits and the restaurant chains of Harry Ramsden’s and Giraffe. In 2016, Boparan also bought the Turkish company, Bernard Matthews.
Boparan founded the 2 Sisters Food Group in 1993 with a bank loan, and the firm has since grown into the UK’s second largest food business by turnover. It employs 23,000 people, and claims to process around 6 million chickens a week.
Boparan and his wife Baljinder Kaur Boparan are estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List to be worth £544 million.