An investigation into a UK supermarket for a major beef fraud has led to “very serious questions to answer” according to Labour.
The National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) has revealed that the retailer sold pre-packed meat and deli products from South America and Europe labelled as British.
Although the NFCU has not named the supermarket, it has been reported that it is not one of Britain’s ‘big five’ supermarkets.
Co-op and Lidl have confirmed they are not under investigation. The supermarket involved has removed all affected products from its shelves.
The investigation is into food fraud rather than the safety of the meat. The NFCU has reviewed approximately 1.3 million documents regarding the products being sold to customers as ‘best British beef’.
In 2013, the horsemeat scandal resulted in the withdrawal of millions of products all over Europe at great cost to the industry and the UK economy.
Deputy Head of the NFCU, Andrew Quinn, confirmed that the agency is investigating a supply of fraudulent pre-packed sliced meat and deli products.
He stated that “Any fraud investigations of this nature take time to go through evidence and bring to any outcome, including any potential prosecution.
We take food fraud very seriously and are acting urgently to protect the consumer.”
At the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) conference last month, president Minette Batters warned against the possibility of another food scandal, saying:
“Ten years on from the horsegate scandal, we cannot afford to be so complacent about the risks that continue to exist.”
Meanwhile, a group of Tory MPs and peers are reportedly opposing post-Brexit trade deals with Canada and Mexico after raising concerns about the welfare of pigs and cattle in those countries.
Pigs in Canada face castration, ear notching, tail docking and teeth trimming while sows are kept for long periods in stalls where they cannot turn around, a practice banned in the UK.
The Government has worked hard to ensure biosecurity and farming minister Mark Spencer has refused to rule out Mexican beef imports, for which he was criticised by the Climate Change Committee.»UK supermarket battles with major beef fraud investigation.«