Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reading between Tesco's lines

Here's a quote from Tesco's website:

"When we became aware that two of our products had been contaminated with more than 1% horse meat, we immediately withdrew them from sale - our frozen Everyday Value beef burgers on the 15th of January and our frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese on the 5th of February."

What a very cleverly worded statement. The implication being that 1% horsemeat had been found in these products. The reality is a little different. According to the BBC the Everyday Value beef burgers contained more than 29% horsemeat and the Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese more that 60% horsemeat! That is certainly MORE than 1%.

I'm also a little concerned that the implication is that up to 1% of horsemeat in a product is acceptable. 

Here's another quote from Tesco:

"So far, we have completed tests on 149 products as part of our new DNA testing programme.
149 products came back with negative results for horse meat. 
This is the start of our testing programme to support our promise that what’s on the label is in the pack. We are now extending our use of DNA testing to look at those products where we think that there is a greater risk of rogue ingredients being used."

Hang on a minute! What about the two products known to contain horsemeat? Shouldn't that be '151 products with 149 free of horsemeat.' You sell a lot more than 149 products are you going to test ALL the rest? What about lamb, pork and chicken products? Are you testing those to see if they contain substances other than what they should contain? I don't find that 'where we think there is a greater risk of rogue ingredients being used' at all reassuring. Does this mean you were aware of this risk before and did nothing?

Sorry Tesco but this damage control statement isn't going to cut it. The only thing that will restore confidence in your 'Everyday' products is complete honesty and openness. You've been selling products labelled 'Beef' which were not 'beef' and my understanding is that that's against the law. Granted you may have been mislead by your suppliers but we trusted you to check that your suppliers supplied genuine products and you appear to have let us down.

We recognise that you are not the only supplier at fault Iceland, Aldi, Findus and others share your blame. Just don't try to fob us off with talk of 1% and giving those who have bought 'beef' products that were not 'beef' money back would have been a better gesture

Update 26 Feb 2013

Iceland have now sent out emails about their food. Unlike Tesco they didn't try to be evasive:

    some good news from Iceland.
    All Iceland own brand products containing beef have been tested by an independent scientific laboratory to ensure that they are completely free of horse meat. I am very pleased to tell you that they found no evidence at all of any such contamination in any Iceland beef product.
    We aren't at all complacent, and will be testing a wider range of other meat products in the weeks ahead; as we constantly check to ensure that everything we sell under the Iceland brand is made to the recipe we specified and is correctly labelled.
    I am sorry for any worry you have been caused by the publicity around this issue.
They also took the opportunity to tell me that Iceland did not use MSG, mechanically recovered meat or GM foods in their own brand products - something I didn't know.

Tesco - you left me doubting your meat products still.
Iceland - I'm happy to buy from you again.

1 comment:

joeh said...

Well their comments worked on me until I read you analysis!

Sneaky bastards!