GCA asks Tesco to look at attitude to suppliers

Just one week after Tesco announced a serious over-stating of profits and another meat contamination case, Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon said she has asked the retailer to examine its behaviour towards suppliers.

The company is to begin an internal review and, speaking to an audience at this year’s Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) show, Tacon said: “I have requested that compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is included in the scope of the internal investigation and I have asked to be notified if Tesco starts to find practices that might breach the Code.

“The GCA will take a decision on the next steps, based on the evidence.”
Tacon also urged the audience to take action and go to the GCA if they felt retailers were acting in bad practice. “I don’t want to interfere in your commercial relationships with retailers, but if you know of a practice that is not only affecting you, but is also likely to affect others, isn’t that a justification to tell me, so that I can take action?  Give me the tools and I can do the job.

“I rely on suppliers, trade associations and other organisations and individuals with evidence about potential breaches of the Code to bring that evidence to the GCA.

“Without the evidence I am powerless to act, without a strong body of fact-based information I cannot launch an investigation and without detailed data any investigation I launch will not be able to prove any breach of the Code has taken place.”

Meanwhile Tacon also explained progress on forensic auditing by retailers of their suppliers. Eight out of 10 retailers agreed a voluntary commitment to time-limit such audits to two years. “I have asked all the retailers to inform their suppliers in October about their forensic auditing policies.

“This is an example of how I want to achieve swift progress by informal methods on issues faced by many suppliers, but let me be clear that I also have the power to carry out investigations and impose sanctions, including fines, in the most serious breaches of the Code.”

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