Tesco has withdrawn more than ten million beef burgers from its stores in the republic of Ireland and the U.K. since the Irish food watchdog, earlier this week, discovered horse DNA in the burgers being sold at different stores in the two countries.
Tesco came under fire again and this time around, it was for mixing horsemeat in beef burgers. The discovery was made by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, which tested the burger batches and found horse DNA in the meat. After this discovery was made, Tesco announced to withdraw millions of beef burgers from stores in Ireland and the U.K. in a bid to improve its reputation.
The burgers were produced in two plants in Ireland and one in the United Kingdom and were being sold by several retailers in both the countries. The Irish food authority issued a statement, saying that even though the affected burgers contained very low levels of horse DNA, it was still imperative to remove them. In one Tesco sample, however, the horsemeat accounted for about 29 percent of the meat, making it a very high percentage.
After the discovery, Tesco released a statement on Tuesday evening, saying, "We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the U.K., and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again," according to dailymail.co.uk.
Although horsemeat does not pose any risk to human health, culturally it is not consumed in the U.K. and Ireland. Consumers responded strongly to the discovery, asking the giant to investigate the situation and also demanding an explanation as to how this lapse was possible.
Tesco apologized to its customers for selling beef burgers that contained horsemeat via a newspaper ad.
Tesco is the world's third largest retailer after Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour, but has suffered losses in sales for the last one year. It entered the U.S. market in 2007 and opened nearly 200 stores nationwide including some in California, Nevada and Arizona. However, since suffering losses, the company has majorly scaled down its operations and is also considering abandoning its U.S. operations entirely.