United Kingdom

Tesco apologises for misleading customers into buying ‘British carrots’ grown in Spain

The UK’s largest supermarket chain has apologised for any confusion caused after a user on social media shared an image of the mislabelled product. Rhys Llwydfaen posted a picture of the bag of carrots clearly labelled “British carrots” in block capital letters, accompanied by a Union Jag flag below.

It also has the Red Tracker assured logo which indicates the product is British produce.

But, on closer inspection, there was also a much smaller sticker in the bottom right corner which read “Grown in Spain”.

Mr Llwydfaen shared the shopping experience of one of his friends on Twitter along with the caption which said: “I don’t shop in @Tesco this is one of the reasons why!!

“British labelled Farm Assured Carrots… grown in Spain! Worse thing is… they keep getting away with it.”

A number of furious shoppers commented on the post and took aim at the supermarket.

One user said: “That’s appalling. Dishonest in the extreme.”

Another said: “Makes a mockery of the red tractor logo.”

A third wrote: “This is completely unacceptable. Sold under false pretences. What’s more it devalues the confidence consumers have in the red tractor logo.”

In a follow up post, Mr Llwydfaen said he had received an explanation from the foods standards scheme Red Tracker and stated a printing error was to blame.

He said: “My colleague has had a response from @RedTrackerFood. A package printer error was to blame.

“Only a few trays affected and couldn’t be rectified as they had been already despatched.

“Didn’t know that fresh produce was despatched to @Tesco in such small quantities.”

Red Tracker is the UK’s largest provider of British sourced food with 46,000 UK farmers and supermarkets using its assured standards.

A spokeswoman for Red Tractor said: “We take the use of our logo very seriously, Red Tractor certification signifies that the food has been produced to world leading standards on safety, environmental protection and can be traced back to farms in the UK.

 “We have investigated and have found that a small batch of carrots grown in the UK, incorrectly stated the country of origin as Spain.  We are seeking reassurances that this will not happen again.

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“Any use of our label for produce grown and reared outside of the UK is in complete contravention of our terms of use.”

Tesco has also apologised for the error and reassured customers that all its products labelled British are grown in the UK.

A spokesman said: “A small number of bags of our British carrots were incorrectly labelled as having been grown in Spain.

“We are sorry for the confusion caused and would like to reassure our customers that all of our carrots described as British are grown in the UK.”

It comes as UK supermarkets – including Tesco – warned gaps may start appearing on shelves within days if transport links between the UK and Europe are not resolved.

Tesco said there could soon be a shortage in its stores of lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers and citrus fruit.

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Freight to and from France is being disrupted as part of a wider suspension of travel links following the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus.

Since Sunday evening, the French government has closed its border to arrivals from Britain for 48 hours, which means no lorries can leave the English port of Dover.

Speaking at Monday’s press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to shop normally and said French President Emmanuel Macron was keen to resolve the crisis.

This morning, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I don’t think anybody should be worried – there is plenty of food in our shops.”


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