Horsemeat scandal: Food retailers hit back at conspiracy claims

By Lauren Grice

Food retailers have hit back at claims they were involved in a conspiracy of silence over the ongoing horsemeat scandal.

In an open letter signed by the bosses of some of the UK’s biggest suppliers, wholesalers and supermarkets it was claimed they share the “anger and outrage” of consumers.

“We can’t accept a situation where the trust customers place us is being compromised by fraudulent activity or even as alleged, an international criminal conspiracy,” said the document.

“We are working around the clock to complete the most comprehensive testing of processed beef products ever undertaken, anywhere in the world.”

The authors went on to note that British food retailers have already implemented some of the most “rigorous” testing and auditing systems in the world, but would be strengthening these to help restore public confidence in their wares.

“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,” they added.

Early testing results published on Friday (February 15th) indicate that 59 products from the Co-Operative Group have been found to be clear of horsemeat, as have 149 Tesco products.

The Food Standards Authority made the first arrests in the horsemeat scandal on Thursday, following an inspection at Farmbox Meats near Aberystwyth.

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