Steak supplier Russell Hume enters administration

Steak supplier Russell Hume enters administration

Under-scrutiny UK meat processor Russell Hume has filed for administration, citing the difficulties the business has faced since a recent product recall and questions over its procedures.

ITV News quoted administrators KPMG as saying 266 staff had been made redundant from a workforce of 302.

Chris Pole, KPMG joint administrator, said: "The recent product recall and halt in operations has caused significant customer attrition and trading difficulties, which in turn has led the directors to take the decision to place the company into administration.''

KPMG added: "We will also be seeking buyers for the business and its assets. Any interested parties are advised to contact us as soon as possible."

Russell Hume was at the centre of a food recall in January following unannounced inspections by the UK's Food Standards Agency, which found issues relating to procedures and processes over use-by dates. The company was consequently imposed with enforcement orders by the FSA and its counterpart in Scotland over its meat deliveries to customers, which included the pub giant JD Wetherspoon, schools, care homes and select UK retailers.

In the first week of February, the FSA and its Scottish counterpart said they would start a nationwide review this month of Russell Hume's meat-cutting plants and cold storage units following "serious non-compliance issues".

The BBC said Russell Hume's directors would continue to work with the FSA over the issues it had raised.

It quoted directors as saying: "We still feel its action has been out of all proportion to the concerns it says it has identified.

"The fact that its investigations have become industry-wide and a number of other firms have also had issues, strongly suggests there is a lack of clarity in the industry and in current FSA guidelines. Prior to this, we had a long, unblemished record for supplying quality meat products."

Last Sunday, the FSA announced another UK meat supplier, Fairfax Meadow, had started to withdraw some of its meat products sold into the country's catering sector after unannounced visits by the regulator on 8 February.

The FSA said the inspections had "revealed concerns about the procedures and processes the company had been using to apply use-by dates on some of its products".

Meanwhile, a fortnight ago, the FSA announced UK firm Muscle Food had issued a recall after an unannounced visit by the regulator of the company's supplier DB Foods.

And, in another echo of the issues at Russell Hume, the FSA said it had "concerns about procedures" at DB Foods "for use-by dates on some products that were not compliant with legal requirements".

However, unlike with Russell Hume, which saw a block on distribution from its sites - subsequently partially lifted this week - shipping from DB Foods and operations at Fairfax Meadow continued.