Horsemeat scandal keeps running, as Tesco sells withdrawn burgers

Most media outlets must be getting a little hoarse from shouting about contaminated burgers, but a Tesco store in Oxford is in the muck after a cashier sold some of the withdrawn patties a week after the scandal broke.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

The UK’s largest supermarket chain has had to apologise and launch an investigation after its store in Cowley, Oxford, managed to sell a contaminated horsemeat burger days after they had been withdrawn from shelves.

Scandal erupted after a BBC reporter succeeded in buying a pack of Tesco own-brand frozen quarter pounders, thanks to a cashier who overrode an alert message on the till. 

Tesco trotted out a statement quick sharp: ‘While this product was not implicated in the FSAI investigation, and was withdrawn as a precaution, we are urgently investigating how this product came to be on a shelf in store.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.’

If you haven’t heard a bit about the horsemeat story then you must have been on another planet. But just in case, last week Tesco came under fire after a food safety test found traces of horse DNA in some of its beef burgers. A couple of other supermarkets got dragged down in the scandal too because of shared suppliers, and a torrent of horse-related puns swamped Twitter for a few days.

Meanwhile, Waitrose told everyone rather smugly that its burgers do not come from any of the affected meat producers. But, oh, wait, what is this? On Friday it announced that it is withdrawing burgers from shelves. Why?Because it turned out that one of the firms at the centre of the investigation, Dalepak, does supply Waitrose after all.

So, a PR disaster for Tesco, and an embarrassing bit of comeuppance for Waitrose. Looks like this horsemeat story has got legs...


Click here to see MT's coverage of the original horsemeat scandal.

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