30 January, 2013
Tesco statement on investigation into meat contamination
Tim Smith, Group Technical Director, comments:
"Two weeks ago, on 16 January, we issued an unreserved apology to our customers because tests in Ireland found horse DNA in three Tesco frozen beef burger lines.
"We made a commitment to customers to investigate thoroughly and share the findings with them. Since then, we have been working hard to understand what happened and how we can stop it ever happening again.
"We now understand - with as much certainty as possible – what happened. The evidence tells us that our frozen burger supplier, Silvercrest, used meat in our products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers we gave them. Nor was the meat from the UK or Ireland, despite our instruction that only beef from the UK and Ireland should be used in our frozen beef burgers. Consequently we have decided not to take products from that supplier in future. We took that decision with regret but the breach of trust is simply too great.
"Ultimately Tesco is responsible for the food we sell, so it is not enough just to stop using the supplier.
"We have a well-equipped, expert technical team and world-class checks in place but we will not take anything for granted after this incident.
"It has shown that, in spite of our stringent tests, checks and controls there remained a small possibility that something could go wrong and it did. We want to stop it ever happening again, so we are taking action to reduce that possibility still further.
"To underpin the strong measures already in place, we will now introduce a comprehensive system of DNA testing across our meat products. This will identify any deviation from our high standards.
"These checks will set a new standard. It will be a significant investment for Tesco, borne by Tesco. We want to leave customers in no doubt that we will do whatever it takes to ensure the quality of their food and that the food they buy is exactly what the label says it is."
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