Tesco disappointed by 'British' pork blunder

16 September 2013

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17 September 2013 | Will Green

Tesco said it was “extremely disappointed” after tests showed pork chops labelled as British in fact probably came from the Netherlands.

The BBC bought the two chops, bearing the red tractor “from Britain” logo, from a Tesco store in Salford and sent them to a lab for testing.

The testing technique used was Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis, which is used by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) to check the authenticity of pork labelled as British. The results showed there was a less than 1 per cent chance the pork came from Britain, and may have come from the Netherlands. Further tests on other products revealed no similar problems.

A Tesco spokeswoman said:  “We are extremely disappointed to discover a pork loin product probably came from a Dutch farm, not a British farm. When we specify that we want British pork, we expect to be supplied with British pork. We have spoken with our supplier to make clear that this mistake is unacceptable.

“Further testing on more products has confirmed the country of origin is correct in all cases. We’ve recently trialled this new isotope testing and we are talking to BPEX about how we can develop this alongside our existing tests, to bring even more rigour to our food testing programme.”

Mark Johnson, associate professor of operations management at Warwick Business School, said: “The news that pork from Tesco bearing the red tractor logo – indicating that it is produced in the UK - originated in Holland, though unfortunate, is not unexpected. All firms use suppliers to provide products and services, creating complex, lengthy and opaque supply chains. They use suppliers to provide things that they deem to be ‘non-core’, while focusing their activities on areas that they excel at.”

The finding comes after Tesco was rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority over an advertisement in January that suggested the horse meat scandal had affected the whole meat industry.

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