When we became aware that two of our products had been contaminated with more than 1% horse meat, we immediately withdrew them from sale - our frozen Everyday Value beef burgers on the 15th of January and our frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese on the 5th of February.
We will no longer work with the suppliers who fell below our very high standards.
We promised that we would undertake a thorough programme of DNA tests, and that we would tell you, our customers, the results.
Over the past few weeks we have focused on products where minced red meat is used as an ingredient. This includes products such as burgers and ready meals.
So far, as part of our DNA testing programme, a total of 758 products, sold in Ireland, have been tested and all have negative results for horse DNA. These products are now listed on http://www.tesco.ie/customer-concerns/results/ so customers can follow our progress, the site will be updated with further results as we receive them.
This is the start of our testing programme to support our promise that what's on the label is in the pack. We are now extending our use of DNA testing to look at those products where we think that there is a greater risk of rogue ingredients being used.
As we test more products we will keep you updated about our progress and if we find anything in the pack that is not on the label we will take the product off sale and investigate fully. And we are not going to stop there. We will test all of our meat-containing products next and then move on to other foods.
DNA testing will now become routine in our management of product quality and assurance.
We would like to thank all of our customers for their patience and support while we endeavour to get things in the right place for you.
Tim J Smith
Tesco Group Technical Director
Tim Smith, Tesco group technical director, comments:
Today we have withdrawn from sale a product which has tested positive for between 2-5% horsemeat. The product is a frozen Tesco Simply Roast Meatloaf 600g. The product tested was manufactured between October 2012 and January 2013 at Eurostock in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. Tests on 15 other lines from the same manufacturing site were clear of horsemeat. Our investigation to thoroughly understand the source of the contamination has started and we will complete our investigation before deciding whether to continue using the supplier.
As part of our new DNA testing programme we have now tested more than 300 products available in Ireland that have been identified as being most at risk of containing horsemeat. This is the fourth Tesco-branded product to have tested positive.
We are very sorry that we have had a further product which has failed to meet the high standards we and our customers expect.