The Co-operative Food has launched an investigation after lettuce from Spain was sold in packs bearing the Red Tractor label and the Union flag in its stores.
The retailer said the incident was an “isolated error,” limited to one batch of its own-label little gem lettuce, which was withdrawn as soon as the error came to light.
“Accurate customer information on labelling is extremely important to us and our customers, and, as soon as the error came to light, we withdrew the incorrectly labelled lettuces, and are investigating this incident with our supplier to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future,” The Co-op added.
The incident came to light after Twitter user Tracy Adams (@farmlandbird) spotted the mislabelled packs and alerted The Co-op, Red Tractor and the National Farmers Union.
NFU head of food chain Deborah Cawood said the incident highlighted how important it was that retailers and suppliers had a firm handle on their supply chains. “If there’s one single message that came out of the horsemeat scandal earlier this year, it’s that consumers want to know where their food comes from,” she added. “Whilst this looks like a labelling mistake by The Co-operative, it is critical that food supply chains urgently address their controls and procedures to ensure that consumers are not misled about the origin of their food.”
In September, country-of-origin tests conducted by pigmeat levy body Bpex found a Tesco own-label pork chop labelled as British and Red Tractor-assured did not come from the UK. Tesco apologised for the incident and Red Tractor said it was satisfied the incident was “an isolated case” caused by human error.