"It suggested that the MPs who did receive the biscuits could be bought by biscuits."
UK’s ‘Chicken King’ Ranjit Boparan faces further criticism after he sent unsolicited gifts, containing boxes of biscuits to MPs. These MPs are currently investigating the food hygiene scandal of Ranjit’s company, 2 Sisters Group.
The House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has told Ranjit off for the gifts and described them as an “inappropriate gesture”.
The chairman of the committee, Neil Parrish, wrote to the businessman, adding they were an “unwarranted attempt to impugn the Committee’s impartiality”. He also said:
“I would be grateful if you would respect the integrity and independence of the committee and avoid similar gestures in future.”
Paul Flynn, a Labour MP, told The Daily Telegraph that only half of the MPs investigating received gifts from the ‘Chicken King’. These included boxes of Fox’s Biscuits, a brand owned by 2 Sisters, reportedly worth a total of around £100.
He added: “The gifts caused a great deal of consternation as it suggested that the MPs who did receive the biscuits could be bought by biscuits. Those that didn’t receive them could be judged to be beyond corruption.
“Biscuits will never buy us.”
Reports also claim that the MPs who received these gifts either returned them to 2 Sisters or donated them to local food groups. Neil Parrish said:
“Those members in receipt of gifts from 2 Sisters Food Group have declared this in the committee’s formal minutes.”
A spokesperson for the company attempted to assure that there was no sinister intention or message behind the gifts. They said:
“It was approximately eight packets of Fox’s and Own Brand Biscuits which we send every year to a number of external stakeholders as a goodwill gesture at Christmas. We have responded formally to Mr Parish explaining this.”
This comes after the food hygiene scandal which rocked 2 Sisters. In a media investigation headed by The Guardian and ITV, they discovered practices at one of its factories which allegedly breached safety regulations, such as altering dates.
A public inquiry was soon launched in October 2017. While he denied having poor standards in his factory, Ranjit did apologise for the scandal.
The businessman also hit headlines recently, after selling pizza brands Goodfella’s and San Marco to Nomad Foods, the owners of Bird’s Eye, in a deal worth a whopping £200 million!
Ranjit said of the deal: “We are pleased to announce this transaction of our frozen pizza businesses.
“We have had approaches over the past couple of years for these businesses and we have been talking to several interested parties during this period. Nomad Foods is a fabulous new home and this deal will enable the business to continue to flourish with a new owner who are experts in the frozen category.”
2 Sisters Group also owns Matthew Walker, a Christmas Pudding production company, fish and chips restaurant Harry Ramsden and restaurant Giraffe.