Business Irish

Saturday 24 February 2018

Tesco insists Irish chicken suppliers unaffected by UK arm’s decision to source meat ‘closer to home’

Cormac Murphy

IRISH chicken suppliers will not be affected by an announcement of a change in policy by Tesco UK.

From July all chicken meats sold at Tesco's UK stores will come from British farms, Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke has said.

But it is understood this will have no effect on the existing situation for Irish suppliers to the supermarket chain.

Chicken supplied to Tesco UK from within the island of Ireland mainly comes from the North.

Chicken farms in the Republic will continue to supply Tesco Ireland with produce so the status quo will not change, it is believed.

Mr Clarke's comment had sparked fears that Irish companies could be affected but the concerns appear to be unfounded.

It is understood his remark was directed at meat sourced from outside the UK and Ireland.

The boss of Tesco vowed to bring meat production “closer to home” and work much more closely with farmers as part of a raft of changes in response to the horse meat scandal.

Mr Clarke said the chain had introduced a new testing process so that customers can be sure that what is on the label is in the packet.

He said: “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.”

He would not promise that the changes would not cost customers more.

“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,” he said.


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