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Tesco pledges to source more meat from within the UK

Wednesday February 27th 2013

Tesco has announced that it will source more of the meat sold in its supermarkets from the UK and work more closely with British farmers in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the National Farmers Union conference where he is due to speak later today, Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke also said that the supermarket was introducing new testing processes and would only sell British chicken in its UK stores from July.

Clarke told the news channel: "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.

"And that is the most comprehensive testing regime I have ever seen, and it's happening right now.

"The second thing is 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.

"And the third thing is we're going to have more partnerships, more collaboration with farmers."

Clarke said he hoped that the new initiatives would not lead to price increases for Tesco customers although this could not be guaranteed. He added: "I hope that it doesn't mean price increases, but I can't stand here today and tell you that it won't.

"I hope it doesn't, I'll work to make sure it doesn't."

The news comes as a survey by the NFU reveals that UK consumers want to see more British food on supermarket shelves and in restaurants as a result of the horse meat scandal.

The study found that more than 86% of shoppers are "as likely or more likely" to want to buy more traceable food that has been produced on British farms with a further 78% agreeing that supermarkets should sell more food from British farms.