British supermarket company Tesco has apologised to customers following the discovery that some beef burgers sold in Ireland were 29 per cent horse meat.
The apology was prominent on the front page of its website, Tesco.com, at the time of writing. The company promised to get the bottom of what happened and let its customers know.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) this week published the findings of tests on beef burger products.
A total of 27 beef burger products were analysed, with 37% – 10 of the 27 products – testing positive for horse DNA and 23 (85%) testing positive for pig DNA.
An authority spokesman says there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in the products tested.
While most of the products that tested positive for horse DNA contained only trace amounts, the worst offender was Tesco’s Everyday Value Beef Burgers, in which horse meat made up 29.1% of the supposed beef content.
Tesco said: “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.
The products in Tesco’s stores were its Everyday Value 8 Frozen Beef Burgers (397g), Tesco 4 x Frozen Beef Quarter Pounders (454g) and a branded product, Flamehouse Frozen Chargrilled Quarter Pounders. Tesco said the products came from one supplier.
The company said it has immediately withdrawn from sale all products from the supplier in question, from all stores and online.
Customers were offered a full refund without proof of purchase, even if only the packaging remained.
“We and our supplier have let you down and we apologise.
“So here’s our promise. We will find out exactly what happened and, when we do, we’ll come back and tell you. And we will work harder than ever with all our suppliers to make sure this never happens again.”