Tesco has denied it is to introduce a new labelling system for Irish beef that would describe it as ‘Irish born, British finished’

Tesco has vigorously denied claims it plans to introduce a new on-pack labelling system for beef imported from Ireland and fattened in the UK that would describe meat as “Irish born, British finished”.

The move comes after the Farmers Union of Wales yesterday put out a statement slamming the idea and criticising Tesco for adding to consumer confusion “at a time when UK retailers should be seeking to clarify labelling and source more British-born and reared produce”.

The FuW statement referred to “media reports” in the Irish press that had suggested Tesco wanted to label its beef “Irish-born, British-finished” in order to “circumvent current labelling rules” and allow the packs to carry the Union Jack.

But a spokesman for Tesco said the reports and the FuW’s statement were incorrect. “We have no plans to introduce an ‘Irish born, British finished’ labelling system for beef,” he added.

In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, Tesco announced it would source more of its meat – including beef – “closer to home”. It made a specific UK sourcing commitment on fresh chicken, but on beef has always maintained it will source from the UK and Ireland.