"We have the highest standards of hygiene in all of our stores and set ourselves very high standards in food safety and operations,” the spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“Each of these incidents were isolated cases and we took urgent action to thoroughly investigate them, and we are pleased that they have now been resolved”
FoodManufacture.co.uk contacted the retailer after a reader claimed that the Tesco Express deli counter at its Perth store had been sealed off from the rest of the shop to deal with a rat infestation.
“Contact Perth City Council’s environmental health team. Rats in Tesco stores are becoming a rather common story,” claimed the reader.
‘Closed its in-store bakery’
A council spokeswoman told us Tesco had also closed its in-store bakery in Perth as a precaution.
“Perth & Kinross Council’s environmental health team is aware of the current issue at the Tesco Metro in Perth,” she said. “As a precautionary measure, in the interests of public health and safety, Tesco had closed its delicatessen counter while work is ongoing to resolve the matter. We are monitoring the situation and will continue to liaise with Tesco.”
Commenting on the Perth infestation a Tesco spokeswoman said: “Following a thorough investigation, we’re pleased to say this issue has now been resolved and all areas of the store have reopened.
"We’d like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure and can assure them that there has been no risk to food safety.”
Earlier this month, Tesco apologised to a woman who discovered a live caterpillar in a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich, bought from one of its stores in St Leonards in East Sussex last week.
The unlucky shopper 31-year-old Claire Katoroz said: “I decided to take the lettuce out, as a friend of mine once found a snail inside a bag of lettuce. I spotted the caterpillar after it sprung out and started moving.”
Last month the supermarket giant apologised to two shoppers who discovered maggots in a box storing Cadbury’s Caramel Nibbles in a store in Sunderland.
Speaking at the time, a spokeswoman for Tesco said the area of the store concerned was cleaned regularly and filled with new products. “We are conducting a full investigation and will involve the police if necessary,” she said.
In July, Tesco was prosecuted for food safety violations at its Covent Garden Tesco Metro store.
London media reports focused on the information released from Westminster City Council, which described hygiene failures, including the discovery of a ‘supermouse’ feeding in a food crate.
After the hearing, Safia Khokhar, Westminster City Council environmental health officer, said the case related to “one of the most concerning breaches of food safety laws we have seen in a long time".
Tesco pleaded guilty to the six offences and subsequently issued an apology.
Meanwhile, food hygiene and safety challenges will be key topics under discussion at Food Manufacture’s one-day Food Safety Conference to be staged at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham on Thursday October 17.
Key speakers – including Andrew Rhodes, operations director of the Food Standards Agency and Professor Tony Hines of Leatherhead Food Research and others – will deliver the latest advice on how to safeguard your food and drink business.
More information and booking details are available here.