Horsemeat: Retailers anticipate Friday deadline for DNA test results

Food retailers expect to publish the vast majority of their processed beef DNA test results this Friday after 65% of them were revealed last Friday.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), retailers confirmed to the environment secretary Owen Paterson that the testing will be done by this Friday (22 February).

Retailers and the BRC met with Paterson yesterday for the first time since the test results were revealed last Friday. After the meeting, the BRC said retailers were doing all they could to “engage” with consumers on the issue and to “establish the extent and causes of failures in the supply chain”.

Director general at the BRC Helen Dickinson said the results had continued to come in over the weekend and the labs were working “flat out”. She added: “Our members are confident that the vast majority of testing will be completed by Friday.

“Retailers take their responsibilities very seriously and are doing everything they can to maintain consumer confidence and increase surveillance. Members are meeting every day with the Food Standards Agency and working around the clock to understand what has happened and act on lessons learned.”

It was the “top priority” of the BRC and retailers to work with customers to reassure them that “effective solutions” to the issues are recognised, Dickinson said.

“Retailers are using every available channel for direct dialogue with their customers, from social and traditional media to answering questions in-store.”
 
She added: “It’s clear there will be things that need to change for the future as a result of these incidents. Retailers are scrutinising their systems and processes, alongside intelligence gathering and sharing to identify practical improvements that will turn the lessons learned into action.”

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