The boss of a major Uttoxeter employer has been accused of an "attempt to impugn" MPs' impartiality - by sending them "unsolicited" biscuits.
At Christmas, 2 Sisters Food Group sent tins of Fox's Biscuits to the environment, food and rural affairs committee.
But the government panel's chairman, Neil Parish, was less than happy to receive the tasty treats.
The committee recently oversaw an inquiry into standards at poultry processing plants - including 2 Sisters' facility in West Bromwich.
And in a strongly-worded letter to company boss Ranjit Singh Boparan, Tory MP Mr Parish branded the gifts "inappropriate".
He wrote: "Several members of my committee have reported the receipt of unsolicited gifts from the 2 Sisters Food Group over the Christmas period.
"We consider the sending of these gifts to be an inappropriate gesture on your part and an unwarranted attempt to impugn the committee's impartiality.
"I would be grateful if you would respect the integrity and independence of the committee and avoid similar gestures in future.
"The receipt of these gifts was not welcomed by the committee members.
"In all cases they were either donated to a local charity or returned to 2 Sisters.
"Those members in receipt of gifts from the 2 Sisters Food Group have declared this in the committee's formal minutes.
"We will be publishing this correspondence and any subsequent reply on the committee's website."
A 2 Sisters spokesman said: "Each gift was around eight packets of Fox’s and Own Brand Biscuits, in addition to two tins or boxes of Fox’s biscuits
"The contents were the standard supermarket biscuits we make, such as crunch creams, which retail for around £1.
"Tins of assorted Fox’s Biscuits can range from £2 to £3, depending on offer and retailer. The total retail value of the gift was around £20.
"The business sends these out every year as a goodwill gesture at Christmas. We have responded formally to Neil Parish on the above."
Hundreds of workers are employed at Fox's factory in Cheadle Road, Uttoxeter.
More about the inquiry
According to the committee's website, its inquiry followed the release of undercover footage from The Guardian and ITN taken at the 2Sisters' poultry plant in West Bromwich.
It was filmed in July 2017 and "purported to show various examples of poor food hygiene practices and breaches of food safety legislation".
According to the committee, this included:
- Workers altering the slaughter date of poultry thereby extending its "best before" and "use by" dates
- Chicken portions returned by supermarket distribution centres being repackaged by 2Sisters and sent out again to other major retailers
- Workers altering records of where chickens were slaughtered, potentially hindering authorities from recalling contaminated meat during food scares
- Chickens slaughtered on different dates mixed on the production line
- Chickens dropped on the floor of the processing plant and returned to the production line
The plant, where production was suspended last year, was referred to as "Site D" throughout the inquiry.
Mr Boparan addressed the inquiry in October and pledged to install CCTV, base a full-time Food Standards Agency inspector at the plant and use "mystery workers" to keep an eye on standards.
Concluding its inquiry, the committee wrote: "As well as the personal cost to Mr Boparan of the temporary suspension of Site D, many others have lost out from the failings highlighted in his plant.
"In that context we were pleased to hear of the short and medium-term steps he is taking to prevent a re-occurrence and future stoppages in his plant.
"We request that Mr Boparan continues to update us on his progress in both installing these new measures and on re-establishing his supplier relationship with the main retailers."
The committee says 2 Sisters processes around six million chickens each week - around a third of the total produced in the UK.