Tesco pork chop row supplier hopeful for agreement

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pork

An end to the guilty pork chop row is in sight, says Charles Gill, the md of the slaughterhouse at the centre of the dispute
An end to the guilty pork chop row is in sight, says Charles Gill, the md of the slaughterhouse at the centre of the dispute
The meat supplier at the centre of a row about a Tesco pork chop wrongly labelled as British believes the dispute will soon be settled.

Charles Gill, director of FA Gill, said: “We are in positive and ongoing dialogue with the partners involved and are confident that matters will be resolved soon.”

The slaughterhouse was suspected of supplying the pork loin from which the chop was made to Tesco supplier Cranswick. The meat was labelled with a Red Tractor logo – signalling that it was sourced from an animal raised in Britain.

But isotope tests commissioned by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) and published by BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today​ and You and Yours​ programmes revealed there was less than a 1% chance the pork came from Britain – despite bearing the Red Tractor logo. BPEX commissioned the tests to highlight the development in provenance testing.

The guilty pork chop

The boss of Longhand Data, the company commissioned to test the guilty pork chop, told FoodManufacture.uk that the meat certainly did not come from the UK. It was 90% to 95% certain to have originated in the Netherlands, Roger Young, md of Longhand Data, told us.

Meanwhile Gill said: “We have also had good and supportive feedback from other customers in the trade, which has supported the ongoing integrity of British pork supply.”

A spokesman for BPEX said three other samples from the original test batch were definitely produced from a pig raised in Britain. The mislabelling of the guilty pork chop was due to human error, he added.

“But whose error, when and under what circumstances was still under investigation.”

Earlier this week Gill – whose business was dropped by Tesco as an approved supplier – insisted the firm’s own independent isotope tests proved its on-site slaughtered pork was 100% British.

“We know that that this ​[isotope test] will re-assure our customers that not only is pork from farm assured pigs killed in Wolverhampton 100% British. But it also demonstrates the integrity of the hard-working pig farmers and skilled butchers here in England,” ​said Gill.

The slaughterhouse had supplied Cranswick for more than 20 years and had “an unblemished record”,​ he added. The firm’s documentation proved only whole British pork was ever supplied to Cranswick.

Tesco and Cranswick

Tesco and Cranswick representatives had inspected the firm’s production process, as recently as September 10, said Gill.

When the row erupted on Monday September 16, a Tesco spokeswoman admitted: “We are extremely disappointed​ to discover a pork loin product probably came from a Dutch farm, not a British farm. When we specify that we want British pork, we expect to be supplied with British pork.”

Tesco had contacted its supplier to make clear that this mistake was unacceptable, she added.

A spokeswoman for the retailer told us today (September 27) its investigations into the mislabelled pork chop were continuing.

No one from Cranswick was available to answer our questions.

The retail giant’s blunder​ in labelling a pork chop as British with the Red Tractor Logo revealed how easily firms can lose control of their supply chains, said Warwick Business School.

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