Supermarket Tesco has run full-page adverts in several national newspapers apologising for the horsemeat found in its beef burgers today as the Government warned that those involved may face prosecution.
Following the discovery by the FSAI that three of Tesco’s frozen beef burger products contained horse DNA, the supermarket placed adverts in The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Sun, Independent, Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Express, beginning with the headline “We apologise”.
Calling the discovery “a serious problem”, Tesco said in the advertisement: “While the FSAI has said that the products pose no risk to public health, we appreciate that, like us, our customers will find this absolutely unacceptable.”
“We have immediately withdrawn from sale all products from the supplier in question, from all our stores and online.”
Processing plants Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in the UK were found to be producing beef burgers containing horse and pig DNA on Tuesday, and these products, which were also supplied to Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland, have since been pulled from shelves pending further inquiries.
MPs discussed the government’s response to the issue in the House of Commons this morning after Mary Creagh, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asked an urgent question on the matter.
Describing the issue as “very important and extremely serious” David Heath, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, responded: “Consumers should have full confidence that food is exactly what it says on the label.”
“I am impressed at the speed with which Tesco has responded to what is clearly both a very embarrassing situation and a potentially damaging one.
“It is essential that retailers and processors rebuild trust in the products available in this country, and that the government do whatever we can to support that.”
Adding that an investigation will be carried out in conjunction with the FSAI, which will deal with UK food authenticity in general as well the issues currently identified, Heath concluded: “We are investigating fully and there may well be criminal prosecutions as a consequence.”