Tesco today launched a major damage limitation campaign in the national media in a bid to regain what CEO Philip Clarke admitted was “lost trust” following the horsemeat scandal.

The retailer took out full page ads in today’s newspapers explaining the actions it was taking to find the source of the incident, which led to 26 frozen burger lines being pulled from the shelves yesterday.

Clarke described the scandal as a “critical issue” but pledged Tesco would ”go above and beyond what is merely necessary” to put the situation right.

“I cannot repeat enough: this is not a safety issue,” Clarke said in a blog. “The food safety authorities in London and Dublin have confirmed that horse meat poses no health risk.”

“However as a food retailer, customers must have confidence in the products we offer. Trust is essential. As a customer, you need to know that the food you buy and consume is what it says it is,” he added..

Clarke went on to say that “Trust is hard won and easily lost.”

But he added: “We don’t help anyone by hiding and hoping. If some of our customers are angry, so are we. We expect our suppliers to deliver to a standard, and to meet basic food traceability rules.”

Clarke also claimed Tesco would not hide behind suppliers.

“It’s our job to ensure they are meeting our high standards. The first step to rebuilding trust is honesty and transparency, and that is why we will continue to tell our customers everything we know and everything we are doing to stop anything like this happening again,” he said.