EH officers sprung into action following a national newspaper report that the KP Snacks Hula Hoops factory was a ‘disgusting’ health hazard.
The Daily Star newspaper broke the story after a tip-off from a whistleblower, and ran it alongside photographs of the factory appearing to show dirt and grime.
Claims included concerns around black dust deposited on machines and flooring, discarded stacks of Hula Hoops lying on the floor for months, humidity, lack of space, and difficulty in cleaning due to the facility’s round the clock operation.
After reading the reports about the facility in Ashby de la Zouch, the local EH team decided to carry out a check.
Lee Mansfield, EH team manager at North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “Following the recent articles in the national media we took the decision to carry out a partial inspection of the KP factory focusing on cleaning and structure.
“The standards found during our visit were generally compliant with food hygiene regulations. Our inspection previous to this in July 2018 showed high standards of compliance.
“Crucially, areas where food comes into contact with equipment and surfaces were clean, and while areas of the factory might look tired, these don’t present any public health concerns.
“We will be carrying out monitoring to ensure that the cleaning procedures are followed.”
KP Snacks also produces own brand snacks for M&S, Aldi and Sainsbury’s and all three supermarkets are investigating.
In a statement KP Snacks said: “We take food safety and hygiene very seriously and care passionately about the health and wellbeing of our colleagues. Our Ashby factory is regularly audited both internally and by BRC Global Standards and our customers. All of these audits are always unannounced and have not identified any major issues.”
The statement added that in the past week it had hosted four separate third party audits, including its retail customers at the site, which all approved the site for continued production. It said that production lines are shut down weekly for an eight to ten hour deep clean and the company has a ‘clean as-you-go policy’ to address spillages.
The statement went on to say: “An engaged workforce is incredibly important to us and therefore we’ve invested significantly in developing an open culture with meaningful two-way communication.
"We have internal processes to enable colleagues to raise concerns, and these include an anonymous whistleblowing hotline and an annual engagement survey.
“We are carrying out a thorough investigation as a result of the issues raised by this individual.”
Food safety auditing firm BRC Global Standards was unavailable for comment.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “We require all suppliers to operate to the highest possible standards and are disappointed to learn of these allegations. We are investigating these claims as a matter of urgency.”
Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We take the safety and quality of our products extremely seriously and are investigating with our supplier.”
M&S said: “Food hygiene is our top priority at M&S and we work closely with our suppliers to ensure our high standards are maintained. We are fully investigating this with our supplier.”