Horse meat scandal: 26 Tesco lines withdrawn

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Tesco has revealed it has withdrawn 26 product lines in response to the horse meat contamination scandal uncovered in Ireland and the UK yesterday.

Although the survey carried out by the Food Standards Agency of Ireland involved just two Tesco products – both frozen beef burgers – testing positive for horse DNA, the retailer said it had decided to withdraw from sale all lines produced by Silvercrest Foods, the Ireland-based supplier responsible for the two burgers.

“This affects 21 own-brand and five branded lines,” a spokesman for Tesco told thegrocer.co.uk. “We have withdrawn all lines produced for us by Silvercrest, and we will not be taking any product from them until we are satisfied with the outcome of our investigations.” He added all the own-brand products involved were frozen products.

Silvercrest Foods, which is a subsidiary of Anglo Beef Processors (ABP), said the FSAI survey had found horse and pig DNA in the products of a number of burger manufacturing companies. “Although the products pose no risk to public health, Silvercrest has taken immediate action to isolate, withdraw and replace all suspect product,” a spokeswoman said.

The FSAI survey found equine and porcine DNA in numerous burger products sold in Ireland and in the UK. Aside from the two Tesco products – one of which contained 29.1% horse material – products from Aldi, Lidl, Dunnes Stores and Iceland also tested positive for horse DNA, albeit in smaller quantities. Pork DNA was found in 23 of the 27 beef burger products tested.

Tesco’s group technical director, former FSA CEO Tim Smith, said in a statement: “The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell. The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious. Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards.

“We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again.”

Readers' comments (6)

  • So Tesco say “The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell". There could be a view that the policies of driving cost down by Tesco (and other supermarkets) are the cause of such quality and safety issues. There are many manufacturers who are taking risks just to stay afloat as a result of the supermarkets greed to bolster profits!

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  • WHATS NEXT FOR TESCO, DAILY MAIL LAST YEAR, WOMAN FOUND RAT IN SANDWICH, NOW HORSE IN BURGER, CAN'T WAIT FOR HUMAN FINGER NOT SAUSAGE!!!! WHEN WILL THE PUBLIC REALISE THAT SHORT CUTS COME FROM CUT THROAT ..... NEVER A CUT IN PROFIT FOR TESCO BUT A CUT IN MARGIN FOR SUPPLIER... DESPITE ALL THE BLUFF AND SPIN THEY ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY... AND INDEED EVERY LITTLE BIT OF HORSE DOES HELP...

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  • Nay, this cannot be right. Oink Oink

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  • Neigh said the man speaking for ABP;
    Horse meat in our burgers, it's quite hard to see;
    Our meat comes from France where suppliers all boast;
    Their thoroughbred products are first past the post.
    I'll bet you a pony that you will not find;
    One small piece of equine or any such kind;
    Our 'mane' source of meat is all from one source;
    From a farmer called Lucan, who's English of course;
    And so I can say on the life of my mum;
    If our burgers taste different, it's not of Red Rum.

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  • so they say 21 of their own brand lines, does this mean also Tesco' s finest? I' 've looked at their product company but it only says produced in Ireland for Tesco' s, so what does that mean?

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  • Its not just about Tesco here, they have been duped as much as Iceland, Burger King and others into buying a product filled-out with no doubt a cheaper alternative.

    What is worrying is that apparently legitimate food businesses, supposedly operating to high UK retail standards think its OK to do this and that they will get away with it.

    Now, the consumer has trust issues, the retailers will charge back the cost of this incident to their suppliers, businesses will go bust because of a short term collapse in demand for their product. Many of those affected businesses will have nothing to do with the incident.

    Its the honest red meat processing businesses I feel sorry for because they are going to be tarred with the same brush.

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