"Mistakes happen but what we try to do is learn from the mistakes and put them right."
Ranjit Singh Boparan, also known as UK’s ‘Chicken King’, has accepted “mistakes” made in his food processing factory. During a public inquiry, he apologised and proposed he would implement stricter rules on food safety.
The CEO of 2 Sisters Food Group faced the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee. After a media investigation uncovered alleged unhygienic practices in one of his factories.
The inquiry took place on 25th October 2017.
During the hearing, Ranjit Singh Boparan faced an array of questions on food safety regulations. Quizzed on whether his company had breached them, the CEO denied having low standards, saying:
“We do not have poor standards. I invite all of you to my factory.” However, he did apologise for the scandal, saying:
“We absolutely apologise for the doubt this has caused to our customers, consumers and employees. These four weeks have been very difficult for a lot of people. Mistakes happen but what we try to do is learn from the mistakes and put them right.
“I can’t accept that you say we have low standards, because we have high standards … I reassure you we will continue to improve. I reassure you food safety is our highest agenda. I reassure you our food is safe.”
In addition, Ranjit Singh Boparan explained that he would implement new practices into his company. For example, the training process would be increased to eight hours and repeated each year instead of three previously.
He also added that he would hire a “mystery worker”, who will oversee how the factories are working and whether they stick to regulations. Lastly, he promised to support in funding costs to individual inspectors. They would inspect each of his 12 chicken sites across the UK.
The Chairman of the committee, Neil Parish said afterwards:
“What he said today was recorded and is on the record. I accept his word that he will improve and put things right. But God help him if he’s got to come here again and he hasn’t put it right.”
This follows the media investigation of Boparan’s factory in West Bromwich, headed by The Guardian and ITV. Undercover filming revealed workers altering the dates of chicken in the factory, arising in allegations of breaching food safety regulations.
The Foods Standard Agency (FSA) and British Poultry Council also faced criticism during the inquiry. Neil Parish criticised them for lacking awareness of the site’s issues. A follow-up meeting will take place, in six months time, to review Ranjit Singh Boparan’s improvements.