Tesco shares plummet in horsemeat scandal

Tesco have swung into damage limitation mode after horsemeat was discovered in their beefburgers. Traces of pork were also discovered that will no doubt raise questions in Islamic and Jewish communities.

Shares in the retail giant fell by 300 million pounds while shelves were cleared of the their own brand burgers as one sample of Tesco Everyday Value Beefburgers was found to be 29% horse meat.

The products that tested positive were supplied by Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods in Ireland and one UK plant, Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire. Tests on beef sold in Lidl, Aldi and Iceland uncovered horse and pork DNA. The Food Standards Agency analysed 27 burger products from five supermarkets and agents discovered horsemeat in 10 of them.

Tesco group technical director Tim Smith said last night: “We immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question. “We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again.”

A Liffey Meats spokesman said : “We have withdrawn from sale all products identified by the tests. Tests found minute traces of non-beef DNA in the company’s beef burgers. The company believes it has identified the source of the contamination.

"Liffey Meats is purely a beef processor and has traceability on all of the beef used. The source of the contamination is imported ingredients and these will be replaced from other sources before production is resumed and customers are supplied.”

“We sincerely regret that any product produced by the company would not conform to the highest specifications and sincerely ¬apologise to our customers.” The Food Safety Authority of Ireland carried out the tests on the beef. Its chief executive Professor Alan Reilly said: “The products we have identified as containing horse DNA and, or pig DNA do not pose any food safety risk and consumers should not be worried.”

There is a certain inevitability about this scandal. Did anyone really think that cheap processed food produced by supermarkets were going to be 100% prime cuts?

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