News 1982 views last update:Feb 25, 2016

Oops: Tesco labels Dutch pork as British

UK supermarket giant Tesco, has apologised for the mislabelling of two pork chops as British when tests have revealed they were probably Dutch.

Pork carrying the Red Tractor logo that was purchased in a Tesco store in Salford, Greater Manchester, by a BBC reporter was sent to a German laboratory for testing.

Scientists used a technique known as stable isotope ratio analysis, which checked the authenticity of the pork by comparing it to meat sourced from other parts of the country.

The British Pig Executive (BPEX), which carried out the tests to ensure the provenance of goods bearing the Red Tractor logo, said the results showed a less than 1% chance that the pork came from a British farm and that it probably came from the Netherlands.

Tesco said its records showed the meat was bought from Cranswick Country Foods, whose own records showed they had bought the meat from FA Gill, a family-owned meat company in Wolverhampton.

The retailer added that it was "unclear" why the meat had been incorrectly labelled as British and it was "investigating with its supplier" to try to understand where the breakdown occurred in the supply chain.

A Tesco spokesman said: "We are extremely disappointed to discover a pork loin product probably came from a Dutch farm, not a British farm.

"When we specify that we want British pork, we expect to be supplied with British pork. We have spoken with our supplier to make clear that this mistake is unacceptable.

"Further testing on more products has confirmed the country of origin is correct in all cases. We've recently trialled this new isotope testing and we are talking to BPEX about how we can develop this alongside our existing tests, to bring even more rigour to our food testing programme."

A spokesman for Cranswick Country Foods said: "As one of the UK's leading pork processors we are committed to investing in and promoting the British pork industry.

"Since this result on one of our products, we have followed BPEX guidelines and conducted a full traceability audit.

"Further tests on other pork products have all come back to show the pork is correctly labelled. As a result of our investigations we believe this is an isolated error and we are taking steps to ensure this does not happen again."

The latest blunder is a further embarrassing setback for Tesco, which, following the horsemeat scandal, pledged to improve the honesty and accuracy of its food labelling.

Source: Philip Case, FarmersWeekly

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