Tesco to roll out DNA testing
Tesco to roll out DNA testing

Supermarket chain Tesco is to begin DNA testing on its meat products in the wake of the recent horsemeat crisis.

The move was announced after Britain's biggest grocer dumped an Irish meat supplier over the ongoing food scandal.

Tesco, which pockets around one pound in every three spent on food in the UK, has been heavily criticised in recent weeks following the discovery of horsemeat in its products.

Now the high-street powerhouse believes DNA tests could help restore shaken public confidence in its food.

"These checks will set a new standard. It will be a significant investment for Tesco, borne by Tesco," said Tim Smith, the firm's technical director.

"We want to leave customers in no doubt that we will do whatever it takes to ensure the quality of their food and that the food they buy is exactly what the label says it is."

A food panic was first sparked after horse DNA was found in meat products by food inspectors in Ireland. One burger patty was found to contain 29 percent horsemeat.

The ensuing crisis saw Tesco dump Silvercrest today, despite owner ABP Food Group dumping 10m frozen patties.

Irish firm ABP has lost business deals totalling €45m (£39m; $61m) as a result of the horsemeat crisis. Burger King pulled the plug on a €30m contract before Tesco cancelled €15m worth of orders.

"Ultimately Tesco is responsible for the food we sell, so it is not enough just to stop using the supplier," said Smith.

"It has shown that, in spite of our stringent tests, checks and controls there remained a small possibility that something could go wrong and it did. We want to stop it ever happening again, so we are taking action to reduce that possibility still further."