Manx meat plant fails second Tesco inspection

The Isle of Man’s only meat plant has failed a second inspection by supermarket Tesco, meaning that it will be another month at the earliest before the retailer resumes sale of meat from the plant in its Douglas store.

Tesco is one of the plant’s largest suppliers, but meat from the plant has not been stocked in the only Tesco supermarket on the island since February. Supplies were suspended following after an unannounced inspection of the plant by the Tesco team, which Tesco described as unsatisfactory. Concerns over the standard of auditing and paperwork, along with the  equipment at the plant were raised, with Tesco requesting that the plant replace two of the metal detectors.

The standard of the meat or the hygiene at the plant were not called into question.

Although the equipment has now been replaced and the plant re-visited, the Tesco team has not yet resumed supply, although it viewed last week’s visit as "positive". A spokesman from the company said that significant progress is being made by Isle of Man Meats, and that both parties are working together to raise standards.

A spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that quality Manx meat is available as soon as possible to Tesco’s Isle of Man customers.

“We are continuing to work closely with the supplier to resolve any outstanding issues. Maintaining high food safety standards is extremely important to Tesco - our customers expect nothing less”

Isle of Man chairman Graham Crowe described the incident as a “wake-up call” to the plant. He said: “We are very keen to have our product back in the store and are taking all the measures necessary to ensure it happens. Tesco’s global standards regarding compliance are exactly the same for local suppliers such as Isle of Man Meats, as those who supply their own label products. For a small company with limited resources it is a challenge that will take a little more time, but we will get there.”

In October 2011, the plant was restructured in order to save it from closing down. The island’s government took over the management of the plant, after the previous company, Fatstock Marketing Association (FMA), advised that the operation was facing insolvency within six months.

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