Wetherspoon steak supplier investigated by food safety inspectors ahead of recall
The Wetherspoon steak supplier behind a recall across the chain had just been investigated by food safety inspectors over non-compliance with hygiene regulations.
The FSA said it became aware of instances of "serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations" at Russell Hume on January 12, which led to inspectors investigating all sites.
Russell Hume said a product recall which led to Wetherspoon cutting steak from its menu on Tuesday night was a precautionary measure due to mislabelling.
The FSA said in a statement: "Following an unannounced inspection of Russell Hume's Birmingham site on January 12, we became aware of instances of serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.
"This has led us and Food Standards Scotland to investigate all Russell Hume sites, and other locations where their product is stored, in England, Scotland and Wales.
"Russell Hume were unable to demonstrate compliance with food hygiene rules at its locations, so we have stopped any product from leaving their sites until the business can provide assurances that they are complying with the relevant legislation, and that they are producing safe food. We have also instructed Russell Hume to undertake a withdrawal of all affected product in the supply chain."
The FSA added: "There is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.
"However, we are concerned about the poor practices in place at their premises so that is why we have taken proportionate action to ensure no meat can leave their sites at present. We are continuing to assess the situation."
The FSA said Russell Hume distributed meat to a range of outlets, including hospitality and catering businesses and care homes and schools.
A Wetherspoon spokesman said the chain was "completely unaware" of the FSA's inspection or findings until now.
Wetherspoon customers were left disappointed when the pub company pulled the steak from its steak night menu.
In a statement earlier today, Russell Hume said: "The product recall was a precautionary measure because of mislabelling.
"We have no reason to believe that the product was unsafe to eat".
Wetherspoon said the recall meant there might be some unavailability for the next few days.
It added that alternatives in the steak club menu included pork ribs and quinoa salad with halloumi.
Former Big Brother contestant Ellie Young tweeted sad and tearful emojis after saying she went to a Wetherspoon's for the steak club only to discover they had no steaks.
Ian Heath tweeted: "No steak on 'steak night' at the Old Manor in Bracknell. What exactly is a 'supplier failure'?"
Wetherspoon apologised to customers "for the inconvenience".
Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "We have had a supply issue with our pubs.
"Currently rump steak, sirloin steak and gammon steak are not available, but we hope to resolve this soon."
On its website, Wetherspoon describes its steaks as being matured for 35 days.
Explaining its Tuesday steak club special offer, it says: "The beef for our steaks is supplied directly through farm-assured schemes, meaning that cuts have full traceability and that exacting welfare standards have been met.
"We're proud to carry the Quality Standard Mark, a symbol of our farmers' adherence to standards higher than those required by law."