The ‘Free From’ frozen quarter pounders were available for purchase on shelves in the Cowley Tesco Express, despite Tesco having previously announced that they were to be withdrawn as a precaution.
A Tesco spokesperson commented: “Whilst this product was not implicated in the FSAI investigation, and was withdrawn as a precaution, we are urgently investigating how this product came to be on a shelf in store.”
They continued: “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.”
The story came to light after a BBC reporter managed to buy the burgers even though an alert message appeared on the self-checkout till stating: “Product has been withdrawn from sale.”
A member of staff overrode the alert message on the till, and allowed the reporter to purchase the quarter pounders.
The discovery in Cowley follows the revelation earlier this month by the Republic of Ireland’s food safety authority (FSAI) that horsemeat was identified in some beefburgers being sold in UK and Irish Tesco supermarkets.
In one particular sample, it accounted for approximately 29% of the meat content.
Ellen Piehl, the Welfare Rep at Keble, commented: “I think the management team just need to be more rigorous about following company orders and policies.”
She went on to suggest that management at the Cowley store “should perhaps be replaced”, saying: “I am appalled that Tesco’s hygiene standards don’t reach the levels of other supermarkets. I shall be sticking with M&S for my weekly shop for the foreseeable future.”
Ian Adderley, UNISON national officer in the meat hygiene service, the union that represents the majority of meat inspectors in the UK, said: “We are deeply concerned that substances unfit for human consumption could be getting into the food chain and onto people’s plates. Not enough tests are done, and even when they are, the delayed reporting process makes it difficult to recall every piece of infected meat.”
PHOTO/ Father Jack