2 Sisters Food Group boss Ranjit Singh Boparan has had his knuckles rapped for sending Christmas gifts to members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee – a group of MPs that investigated his company’s standards last autumn.
That inquiry followed allegations of poor food hygiene practice in the 2 Sisters’ West Bromwich chicken cutting facility by ITV and the Guardian newspaper, which filmed chicken being picked up off the floor and returned to the production line.
In its report, the Efra committee mainly focused on the inspection processes of food sector accreditation bodies, though it also welcomed a commitment by 2 Sister’s owner Mr Boparan to improve its standards.
But the committee has now condemned Mr Boparan, who sent committee members Christmas hampers containing an assortment of his company’s biscuits.
In a tersely worded letter, Efra committee chairman Neil Parish said he considered the sending of these gifts “an inappropriate gesture on your part and an unwarranted attempt to impugn the committee’s impartiality”.
“I would be grateful if you would respect the integrity and independence of the committee and avoid similar gestures in future,” he continued.
“The receipt of these gifts was not welcomed by the committee members. In all cases they were either donated to a local charity or returned to 2 Sisters.”
It is understood the hampers included eight packets of Fox’s and own-brand biscuits, plus two tins or boxes of Fox’s biscuits.
A 2 Sisters spokesman said: “The business sends these out every year as a goodwill gesture at Christmas to hundreds of external stakeholders. We have responded formally to Neil Parish on the above.”
Last Christmas, the company worked in partnership with food charity FareShare to distribute about 200,000 meals to vulnerable people via homeless shelters, lunch clubs and community centres.