Horsemeat scandal prompts UK shoppers to change food buying habits

  • The horsemeat scandal has prompted UK shoppers to change their food buying habits, according to a survey that comes as Tesco said it has pulled more tainted products from its shelves.

    Consumer group Which? said the scandal, which broke in January, revealed the need for tighter controls on the food industry.

    It said that 60 percent of 2,000 adults who responded to an online survey said they had changed their habits as a result of the scandal and were buying less processed meat.

    It also found that 68 percent thought the government was not adequately enforcing labeling laws.

    And half had no confidence in the accuracy of ingredient information.

    Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “The horsemeat scandal exposed the need for urgent changes to the way food fraud is detected and standards are enforced.”

    Serious failings in oversight of the food industry needed to be put right “if consumers are to feel fully confident in the food they are buying,” he said.

    The survey coincides with an announcement by Tesco that tests showed its Simply Roast Meatloaf contained between two and five percent horsemeat.

    The product, made in County Armagh, NI, by Eurostock Foods, has been withdrawn, it said.

    The admission comes two weeks after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said tests by the UK’s biggest supermarkets on processed minced beef products had returned clear results.

    A March 1 statement on the BRC website said 361 tests on 103 products in the previous week by the UK’s major supermarket chains “have produced no new positive results” for horsemeat.

    Tesco recently took out full-page advertisements in British newspapers apologising for selling tainted products.

    Irish food inspectors reported in January that they had found horsemeat in frozen beef burgers made in Ireland and the UK for sale in UK supermarket chains, including Aldi, Iceland, Lidl and Tesco.

    Subsequent investigations found horsemeat being sold as beef in a number of European countries.

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