Lyons Seafoods

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Lyons Seafoods's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Lyons Seafoods is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Craig Walker, managing director
Packing cooked prawns
in Warminster
In the wake of recent scares over hygiene standards at a
poultry plant and beef products containing pig and horse
meat, it’s not surprising that consumers are concerned about
the food they eat. The production of seafood is part of this
concern, with fears that suppliers in other countries could
be using forced labour and affecting the environment when
supplying to the UK. British consumers can be reassured that
Lyons Seafoods, the UK’s leading supplier of freshly cooked
prawns, shellfish and other seafoods, have placed safety and
high ethical standards at the core of their business. Lyons was
established in 1958, and now has a headquarters and factory in
Warminster, Wiltshire, alongside a sister factory, Farne Salmon
& Trout, near Edinburgh. At their Warminster site, they employ
350 staff and have an annual turnover of over £130 million.
Managing director Craig Walker expands.
We have invested heavily in time, money and effort to ensure the integrity of
the seafood products we sell to our customers, who include several major British
supermarkets alongside restaurants and pubs across the UK.
An ethical heritage
We’re committed to sourcing our raw materials responsibly, building ethical
relationships and producing high-quality prawns and other seafood products.
»Managing director:
»Established in 1958
»Based in Warminster, Wiltshire
»Services: Supply of seafood
to supermarkets, pubs and
»No. of employees: 350
»Turnover: £130 million
»Uses raw material from
suppliers in more than 20
»Chairs the Seafish Ethics
Common Language Group
Lyons Seafoods
Ourculture is shaped by our values, and
we offer a working environment that
invests in people while aiming to make
work enjoyable and rewarding.
Our approach starts right from the
beginning, by putting the responsible
sourcing of seafood at the heart of our
With over 21 million people trafficked
worldwide, the risk is that some of
them could end up working in harsh
conditions in firms that supply seafood
to the UK. Our suppliers are based in
over 20 different countries and employ
more than 25,000 workers – we are
committed to ensuring that every one
of them is treated fairly.
We also ensure that we only buy
from companies committed not
to using forced or bonded labour.
When looking to source from a new
supplier, we use a comprehensive
responsible sourcing risk assessment,
which combines ethical trading and
environmental assessments.
We are additionally a member of the
non-profit organisation Sedex, which
helps businesses to operate ethically;
we expect all our suppliers to join
it, too. Finally, we ensure that all
suppliers complete a third-party ethical
Supply partnerships
We are the driving force behind some
of the important ethical collaborations
in the UK seafood industry. For
instance, we chair the Seafish Ethics
Common Language Group, which
brings together all sectors of the
seafood supply chain to respond to
concerns about unethical practices in
the global market, and we sit on the
steering committee of the Seafood
Ethics Action Alliance.
The strength of our links with suppliers
abroad was demonstrated this year
when Dr Rizal Sukma, the ambassador
of the Republic of Indonesia to the
UK, visited our head office to see how
the raw materials from responsible
suppliers in his country are used to
supply the British consumer.
Further responsibility
We also recognise our responsibility to
the environment. We don’t purchase
products of unknown origin, and we
use a detailed risk assessment, coupled
with regular visits to suppliers, no
matter where they are. This ensures
our supply chain is fully transparent,
from the vessels that catch the product
in the wild and the ingredients fed to
farmed seafood all the way through to
shipments of rawmaterials.
Automatically weighing
cooked prawns
Inbound quality
We don’t
products of
unknown origin,
and we use a
detailed risk
coupled with
regular visits to
Highlighting best practice
We can trace all wild-caught products
back to specific vessels and fishing
areas. We make sure that they use
the most selective fishing gear, and
are not linked to illegal, unreported
or unregulated fishing. When the
seafood arrives at our factory, our
commitment to responsible production
continues; we have in place a
chemical surveillance programme
that carries out spot checks to ensure
that controls in the supply chain are
We test at our ISO-certified in-
house laboratory for antibiotics
that the EU has banned from use
in the supply chain. Seafood from
farms and the wild are tested for
mercury, cadmium, lead, dioxins and
polychlorinated biphenyl, the use of
which is limited by EU legislation. We
also test to make sure the product
that we are supplied with has not
been substituted with cheaper
alternatives; DNA testing ensures
that the correct species has been
supplied. The biggest fraudulent threat
to seafood is the addition of water
by using undeclared or unspecified
additives. We have developed tests
for food fraud adulterants in-house
and in conjunction with leading UK
A culture of safety and
Food safety culture is not something
that a business can simply create
just by ticking a box; it must be
embraced by the whole business –
everyone has a role to play. We have
developed core values that emphasise
teamwork, trust between colleagues,
openness to change and recognition of
We have moved from food safety
being the responsibility of a standalone
department to becoming a massive part
of everyone’s role at Lyons. All staff have
an induction which trains them in this
regard, and we emphasise that everyone
in the factory is integral when it comes
to achieving the higheststandards.
Audits and visits are everyday
occurrences, and in each of these we
always receive the highest level of
results and very positive feedback.
As simple as it may sound,
communication is the key to food safety
culture; give people an understanding
of the goals of the business and why
every task has a purpose, and people
will feel they belong, communicate
more effectively and begin to work
more efficiently. People don’t just learn
about the food industry by working
here; they also gain qualifications
through our Pride Training Programme,
which we’re extending to all employees.
It has been accredited by the Institute
of Leadership & Management.
Our commitment to our staff was
recognised in 2014 when we won
the silver Investors in People award.
Of course, it’s great to win awards,
but the real achievement has been
the evolution and growth of an
organisation where the staff are
happy and industrious and working on
products that are responsibly sourced,
safe and of high quality.
Food safety
culture is not
that a business
can simply
create just by
ticking a box;
it must be
embraced by
the whole
business –
everyone has
a role to play
Some of our quality-focused

This article was sponsored by Lyons Seafoods. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy