News releases


15 February, 2013

Open letter from retailers

Dear Sir,

Food shoppers expect that the products they buy from retailers and manufacturers contain the ingredients on the label.  They are right to be concerned that in a small number of products this is not the case. We understand and share their anger and outrage.

The food industry is determined to restore consumer confidence in the food we sell as quickly as possible. We can't accept a situation where the trust customers place in us is being compromised by fraudulent activity or even as alleged, an international criminal conspiracy.

That is why we are acting together with the Government and the Food Standards Agency, not only to get to the bottom of how this has happened but to take whatever steps are necessary to reassure customers that they can trust the food they buy.

We are working around the clock to complete the most comprehensive testing of processed beef products ever undertaken, anywhere in the world.  We are openly sharing the results of these tests and acting immediately to withdraw any product where there is any doubt as to its authenticity.

British retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers already have some of the most rigorous testing and auditing systems in the world but we will  be re-strengthening these to ensure that every part of the supply chain is in no doubt of the obligations we all share to the consumer.

Nothing is more important to us than our consumers’ trust. We will do whatever it takes to restore public confidence in the food they buy and eat.

Yours faithfully

Philip Clarke, Group Chief Executive, Tesco plc

Andy Clarke, President and CEO, Asda Stores Ltd

Richard Cousins, Group Chief Executive Compass Group PLC

Patrick Coveney, Group Chief Executive Officer, Greencore Group Plc

Agust Gudmundsson, Chief Executive, Bakkavor Plc

Philip Jansen, Group Chief Executive, Brakes

Justin King, Chief Executive, J Sainsbury Plc

Chris Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Musgrave Group

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive – Food Retail, The Co-operative Group

Dalton Philips, Chief Executive, Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc

Charles Wilson, Chief Executive, Booker Group plc


For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

Tesco is the UK's largest retailer and one of the world's leading international retailers. Tesco has more than 6,000 stores worldwide, employing almost 520,000 people in the 14 countries in which it operates.
Our core purpose is to create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty. Our success depends on people: the people who shop with us and the people who work with us.