Wetherspoons cancels contract with Russell Hume after meat scare

Wetherspoons has cancelled its contract with the meat supplier Russell Hume after a food safety scare.

The pub chain said it had ended the deal after inspections of Russell Hume’s Birmingham site revealed the business was “unable to demonstrate compliance with food hygiene rules at its locations”.

The chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, apologised to customers after it was forced to remove meat from its menu on Tuesday, leaving customers without rump, sirloin or gammon at the chain’s weekly steak night.

Martin said: “Our decision to stop serving steak from Tuesday 23 January, despite limited information from the supplier, was the correct one. Steak is one of the most popular dishes on our menu, and we serve around 200,000 per week on average, about half of these on our extremely popular Tuesday night steak club.”

The company is sourcing products from different suppliers and has confirmed steaks will be back on the menu from next Tuesday.

Hilton Hotels, which was also supplied with meat by Russell Hume, has also taken meat products from the company off its menu.

A spokesperson for Hilton said: “We can confirm that a small number of Hilton hotels in the UK were supplied by Russell Hume and, following advice from the FSA, the hotels acted immediately to dispose of all products supplied by the company. The safety and security of guests is our primary concernand we uphold stringent food safety standards in all of our hotels.”

Jamie’s Italian stripped Russell Hume products from its menus and changed suppliers this week. And branches of Tiger Tiger, Marston’s pubs and Butlins have also made the company’s products unavailable on their menus, according to ITV.

Russell Hume, which is based in Derby and has various sites around the country, had an unannounced visit from Food Standards Agency inspectors on 12 January.

The FSA said the company had “serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations”. The watchdog said it had suspended distribution of all Russell Hume meat products until bosses could assure the agency it was “complying with the relevant legislation, and that they are producing safe food”.

The FSA has said there was no indication that anyone had become ill from eating Russell Hume meat. In a statement after the steak recall, Russell Hume, which also supplies care homes and schools, said: “The product recall was a precautionary measure because of mislabelling.”