The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has taken action to stop any product from leaving sites operated by Russell Hume because of concerns about non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.

These concerns were uncovered as the result of an unannounced audit on 12 January at one site which then led to a wider investigation in the following days across all their plants and also into products held in cold stores. The investigation relates to allegations of non-compliance with food hygiene regulations, including an allegation that ‘use by’ dates on some meat products supplied by the company have been extended.

In light of the allegations, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) visited the Russell Hume Scottish site on 17 January and took immediate and proportionate enforcement action. FSS are satisfied that food businesses in Scotland have withdrawn all relevant products from the market. There is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.

The FSA is taking a proportionate approach based on the findings and are working in partnership with FSS to do this. FSA are unable to provide further details which could potentially jeopardise future enforcement action.

As a result of these further investigations which highlighted the serious issues of non-compliance, Russell Hume have been required to stop all production at the plants and detain all products. The company has initiated a voluntary withdrawal of all affected products and are working with the FSA. No meat can leave their sites until they can provide assurances that they are complying with the relevant legislation and that they are producing safe food.

Distribution of meat from Russell Hume is to a range of outlets, including hospitality and catering businesses, and care homes and schools. Restaurants who were known to have been supplied Russell Hume meat include Jamie Oliver, JD Weatherspoon and Hilton. JD Weatherspoon have announced that they have ended their contract with Russell Hume.