* CEO says Tesco will source "closer to home"
* From July all chickens sold in UK will come from UK
* Says can't guarantee won't mean higher prices
LONDON, Feb 27 Tesco, Britain's biggest
retailer, said it would buy more meat from its home market as
part of its response to the discovery of horsemeat in beef
products that has shaken consumer trust in supermarket supply
"We're going to bring meat production a bit closer to home.
We do buy some, particularly for our frozen products, out of
Europe, and as we can we'll bring it closer to home," Chief
Executive Philip Clarke told the BBC's Today radio programme.
Clarke said Tesco would seek more collaboration and
partnerships with British farmers.
He said that from July all chicken sold at Tesco's UK stores
would come from British farms.
Tesco was one of the first grocers to be hit by the scandal
last month when tests carried out by the Food Safety Authority
of Ireland (FSAI) on a beef burger product it sold found 29
Earlier this month Tesco found horse DNA exceeding 60
percent in some of its own-brand frozen spaghetti Bolognese
Clarke has responded with a more stringent product testing
regime and a pledge to offer customers insight into Tesco's
global supply chain.
"The testing regime is intended to ensure that if it is not
on the label it is not in the packet, if it is beef, it is beef,
and nothing else," he said.
He could not guarantee "right now today" that all of Tesco's
products contain exactly what is on the label, but "that is our
The CEO also said he could not guarantee a more rigorous
meat testing and policing regime would not mean higher prices
"I hope that it doesn't mean price increases, but I can't
stand here today and tell you that it won't," he said.
Those comments echo those made last week by Andy Clarke, CEO
of Asda, Britain's No. 2 grocer.
However they contradict a Feb. 21 statement from Philip
Clarke who was adamant raising standards "doesn't mean more
Later on Wednesday Clarke will address the NFU farmers union
annual conference in Birmingham, central England.
NFU president Peter Kendall welcomed Clarke's commitment to
increase British sourcing.
"It's really great that Tesco are making a commitment, it's
going to be a long project, but I'm telling you the young
farmers, the farming industry, are up for meeting this
challenge," he said.