Horsemeat: Supermarket bosses hit back at government criticism

Retailers in the UK have hit back at government criticism that they didn’t do enough over the horsemeat scandal.

A letter sent to the government expressed the outrage felt by 11 firms – including Tesco and Asda. According to the letter, retailers shared the “anger and outrage” consumers did.

The letter said the food industry was determined to restore consumer confidence in the food it sells as quickly as possible. “We can’t accept a situation where the trust customers place in us is being compromised by fraudulent activity or even as alleged, an international criminal conspiracy,” it added.

“That is why we are acting together with the government and the Food Standards Agency, not only to get to the bottom of how this has happened but to take whatever steps are necessary to reassure customers that they can trust the food they buy.

“We are working around the clock to complete the most comprehensive testing of processed beef products ever undertaken, anywhere in the world.  We are openly sharing the results of these tests and acting immediately to withdraw any product where there is any doubt as to its authenticity.

“British retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers already have some of the most rigorous testing and auditing systems in the world, but we will  be re-strengthening these to ensure that every part of the supply chain is in no doubt of the obligations we all share to the consumer.

“Nothing is more important to us than our consumers’ trust. We will do whatever it takes to restore public confidence in the food they buy and eat.”