Horse meat has been discovered in beef burgers sold by Tesco supermarkets in London. Reports from Retuers and others emerged on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, that the Prime Minister condemned the situation, and it is looking to be both an embarrassment for the company, but also costly.
"People in our country will have been very concerned to read this morning that when they thought they were buying beef burgers they were buying something that had horse meat in it," said Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament.
"This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs," he said, calling for an urgent investigation by Britain's Food Standards Agency.
This whole horse meat situation at Tesco happens just a week after Chief Executive Philip Clarke said the company was "back in form" in Britain after surpassing what analysts predicted for Christmas sales. Tesco praised a successful relaunch of its ranges in meat products as a big factor to its strongest sales growth in the past three years.
Late on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found horse DNA in beef burger products sold at Tesco in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Lidl, and Aldi. The FSAI said most of the affected burgers contained low levels of horse DNA, but there was one Tesco sample where horse meat accounted for 29 percent of the beef content.
"The news is likely to, at least temporarily, reduce consumers' trust in the quality of Tesco's products which is unhelpful at a time when Tesco is trying to rebuild customers' trust in the quality underpinning Tesco own label and Everyday Value products," said Espirito Santo Investment Bank analyst Caroline Gulliver.