Tesco pork sold as British may well have been Dutch

Tesco pork sold as British may well have been Dutch

BPEX led random tests carried out on two Tesco pork chops, labelled as being British indicate they may well have come from Holland, not Britain.

The discovery was made following BPEX’s agreement to demonstrate its new SIRA technique to the BBC. Stable Isotope Analysis is designed to test the authenticity of pork labelled as British by comparing its to a database of samples taken from key parts of the country.

The pork chops in questioned were supplied to Tesco by Cranswick Country Foods and the audit trail showed the meat had come from a third party supplier, FA Gill in Wolverhampton. However, the results of SIRA test indicated there was a less than 1% chance the products in question came from The Netherlands.

FA Gill told the BBC in a statement to Radio 4’s Farming Today and You and Yours that: “FA Gill can categorically deny that the pork came from their supply as they do not deal with Dutch meat.”

BPEX said in a written statement to Meat Manamagement: “The issues raised by the BBC relate to a single packet of pork chops and we are confident that this is an isolated incident.  We think that consumers will continue to be confident in the Red Tractor.

“BPEX invited the BBC’s You and Yours programme to look at the SIRA test (Isotope testing), a process the whole industry has worked together to develop.  The aim was to demonstrate the lengths that the pig industry, from farmers to retailers, is going to in order to give consumers confidence on country of origin labelling of pork.

“In this incidence it turned out that the pork tested was highly unlikely to be of British origin.  The processor and retailer were informed and have taken this very seriously, looking into it thoroughly.

“We have conducted a further 40 tests on products including products from the same retailer and supplier.  This was the only product where an issue arose and we are confident that this is an isolated incident.  The BBC story is based entirely on this single test result.

“There is always the possibility that an unscrupulous supplier may import cheaper pork and label it as British.  This would be both harmful to consumer confidence and to British pig farmers.  This is exactly the reason why BPEX invested in the development of the SIRA technology in the first place.

“We announced this week that regular SIRA testing will be introduced to underpin the Red Tractor assurance scheme.

“This will only make the Red Tractor scheme stronger, adding even greater levels of assurance on the provenance of Red Tractor pork and increasing consumer confidence while protecting Red Tractor farmers.”

Tesco said it was: “Extremely disappointed,” and had informed Cranswick that such a mistake was unacceptable. Cranswick is reported to have reviewed its systems and has assured its customers they can be confident products were correctly labelled.

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