Tesco has delisted the supplier at the heart of the horsemeat controversy as it revealed that it will introduce DNA testing checks to “set a new standard”.
Tesco has ditched supplier Sivercrest following the discovery of horsemeat DNA in beef burgers. The supplier used meat in its products that did not come from the list of approved suppliers Tesco had given it. Irish authorities said the horse DNA had come from a raw material product used by an unnamed Polish supplier.
The UK’s largest grocer was found to have sold three lines of own label frozen beef burgers containing 29% equine DNA while Iceland, Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes were found to have sold burgers featuring a smaller percentage of horse DNA by the Food Standards Authority of Ireland.
Tesco apologised to customers over the incident two weeks ago. It said today that “it is not enough just to stop using the supplier” and it is introducing a “comprehensive system of DNA testing across our meat products”.
Tesco group technical director Tim Smith said: “Ultimately Tesco is responsible for the food we sell, so it is not enough just to stop using the supplier.
“It has shown that, in spite of our stringent tests, checks and controls there remained a small possibility that something could go wrong and it did. We want to stop it ever happening again, so we are taking action to reduce that possibility still further.”
Smith said the new checks “will identify any deviation from our high standards”.
He added: “These checks will set a new standard. It will be a significant investment for Tesco, borne by Tesco. We want to leave customers in no doubt that we will do whatever it takes to ensure the quality of their food and that the food they buy is exactly what the label says it is.”
One analyst said the investment into DNA testing is essential in order for Tesco to restore public confidence. The analyst said that while the investment will be a cost for Tesco, the move could end up as an industry wide standard and therefore the cost shouldered by the entire food and drink sector.