Supermarket apologises as BBC reporter buys withdrawn burger after cashier in Oxford overrides warning message
Tesco has apologised and launched an urgent investigation after one of its stores sold burgers which were meant to have been withdrawn last week amid the horsemeat contamination scare.
Britain’s largest supermarket chain acted after a BBC reporter managed to buy a packet of Tesco-brand “free from” frozen quarter pounders after a member of staff overrode an alert message on the till at a store in Cowley, Oxford.
The BBC had been tipped off by a customer that lines removed by the company as a precaution were still on sale.
Tesco said: “While this product was not implicated in the FSAI investigation, and was withdrawn as a precaution, we are urgently investigating how this product came to be on a shelf in store.
“The block on purchase at the checkout should not have been overridden. We sincerely apologise for this, and we have spoken to the store to ensure this does not happen again.”
Tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found 29% equine DNA in one Tesco burger sample and traces in another. Other companies with contaminated samples were Iceland, Lidl and Aldi, although the Aldi line was not sold in Britain.
Supermarkets have also withdrawn unaffected lines made at the Silverdale plant in County Monaghan, Ireland, and Dalepak in north Yorkshire, both part of the ABP Foods group. Waitrose was the latest to do so on Friday.
In a statement, Waitrose, whose products were not tested by the Irish authorities, said its burgers had since been found to be 100% beef. “As a consequence we are 100% confident in the integrity of our supply chain,” it said. “The ingredients in our burgers are simple with all meat traceable back to British farms that we know.
“Our technical team visited the Dalepak site last week and were happy that our products were produced to our high specification and separately from other companies’ products (ours are produced at 6am, before other any other burgers).”