Horsemeat: Waitrose pulls frozen burgers from shelves

Last night Waitrose was the latest retailer to pull burgers from its shelves in light of the horsemeat scandal.

The company said it had voluntarily removed its frozen burgers, which were supplied by Dalepak, one of the processors involved in the horse meat contamination investigation.

A Waitrose spokesperson said the retailer was “100% confident” in the integrity of its supply chain, but had decided to remove the frozen burgers - which account for 8% of its total burger sales - as a “precautionary measure” after Dalepak had its BRC accreditation temporarily suspended.

“Our technical team visited the Dalepak site last week and were happy that our products were produced to our high specification and separately from other companies’ products (ours are produced at 6am before any other burgers),” said the statement.

“However, when the British Retail Consortium suspended their accreditation of the site we decided - as a precautionary measure - to take our frozen burgers off sale.”

The spokesperson added that as a further precuationary measure it had sent its frozen burgers for testing, and they had “tested negative for any species other than beef”. It said that it understood that Dalepak’s accreditation had been reinstated on Thursday, but did not comment on whether it would reintroduce products from the supplier to its shelves.

Tesco apology

Waitrose’s decision comes as Tesco was forced to apologise after it was revealed that products removed in the wake of the horse meat scandal were still on sale in a store in Cowley.

The supermarket’s own brand “Free From” frozen quarter pounders, which were not implicated in the scandal but had been pulled from shelves by Tesco as a precautionary measure, were found by a local resident. Staff refused to sell him the product after an alert flashed up on the till, but he contacted BBC Oxford, who sent a reporter who was able to buy the burgers.

A Tesco spokesperson told the BBC: “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 that this does not happen again.”

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