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Jamie Oliver apologises to leading supermarket over chicken debate

In an open letter, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has apologised to all members of staff at supermarket chain Sainsbury's. This follows his criticism of the supermarket chain not participating in the debate in his new show about the standards of battery bred chickens.

After Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King and Oliver exchanged a tense conversation, the letter was sent to 150,000 staff.

In a show, Jamie's Fowl Dinners talks about the appalling conditions in which some chickens are reared. In an attack he criticised Sainsbury's for not turning up for a public debate on chicken farming.

Quality of chicken
The supermarket has now stressed the quality of its poultry in advertisting, which quotes Oliver and the RSPCA as well as writing to its 2 million Nectar loyalty card holders to reassure them of the quality of its chickens.

Sainsbury's has said that it has cooperated with the show although it did not take participate in the debate.

"His independence of mind and independence of spirit and preparedness to stand up and be vocal is what makes him so valuable. When he says things about Sainsbury's people believe it is what he really thinks. That is part of his power," said King.

However, he refused to say whether Oliver's contract will be renewed when it runs out in the summer. "Ask me again in April," he added.

Oliver is paid £1.2m a year to front Sainsbury's advertising campaigns and has been the face of the grocer since 2000.

Editor WorldPoultry

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