Tesco apologises over "horse meat" burgers - but did they contain New Forest pony?

Tesco apologises over

Tesco apologises over "horsemeat" burgers - but did they contain New Forest pony?

First published in News
Last updated

Supermarket giant Tesco has placed full-page adverts in a number of national newspapers apologising to customers for selling beef burgers containing horse meat.

It has also promised to refund customers who bought the contaminated products, and said sorry for the "unacceptable'" situation.

The apology came as a food expert claimed horse meat could have been in beef burgers for years, but remained undetected because of insufficient food regulation.

The UK's food watchdog, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), is also considering taking legal action against companies at the centre of the scandal.

Tesco promised refunds to customers who had bought the contaminated products, which it identified as Tesco Everyday Value 8 x Frozen Beef Burgers (397g), Tesco 4 x Frozen Beef Quarter Pounders (454g), and a branded product, Flamehouse Frozen Chargrilled Quarter Pounders.

In the advertisement, entitled "We apologise'', Tesco says: "While the FSAI (Food Safety Authority of Ireland) has said that the products pose no risk to public health, we appreciate that, like us, our customers will find this absolutely unacceptable.''

It continues: "We have immediately withdrawn from sale all products from the supplier in question, from all our stores and online... We and our supplier have let you down and we apologise.''

The advert concludes: "So here's our promise. We will find out exactly what happened and, when we do, we'll come back and tell you.

"And we will work harder than ever with all our suppliers to make sure this never happens again.''

The apology came as a reported £300 million was wiped off Tesco's stock market value.

Experts have today warned that the popular animals could end up on the plates of unsuspecting diners.

At least 200 pure-breed New Forest ponies were up for auction last year at Beaulieu Road Sales, with many destined for abattoirs because the "bottom has fallen out of the market".

As it was revealed that scientific tests found horse meat within burgers sold by supermarkets such as Tesco, Lidl and Aldi, New Forest Verderer Colin Draper told the Daily Echo that unwanted ponies were being snapped up by English abattoirs for as little as £10.

They then sell them on to the French – where the rogue burger meat is believed to have originated.

He said: “It may well be that people are eating New Forest ponies.

“It is not something we promote.

It is a last resort but there are definitely a few that get taken to the slaughterhouse.

“The bottom has fallen out of the market since the economic slump because keeping them is an expensive hobby.”

Strict rules Mr Draper said strict live animal export rules meant horses were now taken to two British abattoirs, in Cheshire and Bristol.

Dionis McNair, a Verderer and a member of the New Forest Pony Breeders and Cattle Society, blamed the oversupply on over-breeding and changing fashion in horses.

She said: “It is a very worrying situation. We would all like the ponies to be used as riding ponies.”

To alleviate the problem, the Verderers, who represent the interests of animal owners in the Forest, have reduced the number of stallions from 40 to ten in the past four years in a bid to reduce the surplus.

Lee Hackett, from the British Horse Society, said the ponies may be attractive to abattoirs because they have less medicine in them then more domesticated horses.

He said: “It means they are more likely to legally enter the food chain. I think the problem is that there are too many horses and there are not enough nice homes for them. Supply has outstripped demand.”

Horse meat accounted for about 29 per cent of the meat content in one burger sample from Tesco, according to the study carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the FSAI, said there was no health risk but also no reasonable explanation for horse meat to be found.

Tesco, Lidl and Aldi have told food safety chiefs they have removed all implicated products from their shelves.

Comments (45)

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9:22am Thu 17 Jan 13

twynham says...

At least they are free range!
At least they are free range! twynham
  • Score: 0

9:36am Thu 17 Jan 13

Lord Spring says...

I prefer the smaller burgers with the Shetland Pony content
I prefer the smaller burgers with the Shetland Pony content Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

9:36am Thu 17 Jan 13

The Liberal says...

The lesson here is clear: always buy your meat from a trusted supplier, such as a local butcher.
The lesson here is clear: always buy your meat from a trusted supplier, such as a local butcher. The Liberal
  • Score: 0

10:01am Thu 17 Jan 13

Imaximus says...

I have no problem eating horse. Their burgers are yummy and i think tesco are getting a bad rap....they were not the only ones caught out but dont see anyone else slagging off other supermarkets. Just lable the burgers as Meat Burgers rather then beef and have done with it.
I have no problem eating horse. Their burgers are yummy and i think tesco are getting a bad rap....they were not the only ones caught out but dont see anyone else slagging off other supermarkets. Just lable the burgers as Meat Burgers rather then beef and have done with it. Imaximus
  • Score: 0

10:19am Thu 17 Jan 13

really?? seriously?? says...

I had such a rant at Tesco`s that my throat`s gone hoarse.
I had such a rant at Tesco`s that my throat`s gone hoarse. really?? seriously??
  • Score: 0

10:23am Thu 17 Jan 13

BournemouthMum says...

If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 0

10:31am Thu 17 Jan 13

mysticalshoelace says...

If horse lovers didn't flog their unwanted pets to the local abattoir then it wouldn't happen.

Anyway this is probably the tip of the ice burg, if there's horse meat in burgers then I shudder to think what's in the rest of our food!
If horse lovers didn't flog their unwanted pets to the local abattoir then it wouldn't happen. Anyway this is probably the tip of the ice burg, if there's horse meat in burgers then I shudder to think what's in the rest of our food! mysticalshoelace
  • Score: 0

10:34am Thu 17 Jan 13

jeebuscripes says...

I'm glad this discovery of horse meat has opened a bit of a debate about where we get our meat from.

The outraged mob didn't seem to care about the horrible parts of the cow they were eating.
I'm glad this discovery of horse meat has opened a bit of a debate about where we get our meat from. The outraged mob didn't seem to care about the horrible parts of the cow they were eating. jeebuscripes
  • Score: 0

10:42am Thu 17 Jan 13

scrumpyjack says...

It was nice to hear there was pork in there as well.
It was nice to hear there was pork in there as well. scrumpyjack
  • Score: 0

10:53am Thu 17 Jan 13

Imaximus says...

horses are pointless animals anyway. Might as well eat them.
horses are pointless animals anyway. Might as well eat them. Imaximus
  • Score: 0

10:54am Thu 17 Jan 13

mookie44 says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
I think your find that Burger King use the same supplier for their burgers...
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]I think your find that Burger King use the same supplier for their burgers... mookie44
  • Score: 0

10:58am Thu 17 Jan 13

The Liberal says...

mookie44 wrote:
BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
I think your find that Burger King use the same supplier for their burgers...
Also, Ireland supplies most of the burgers for McDonald's across the EU.
[quote][p][bold]mookie44[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]I think your find that Burger King use the same supplier for their burgers...[/p][/quote]Also, Ireland supplies most of the burgers for McDonald's across the EU. The Liberal
  • Score: 0

11:00am Thu 17 Jan 13

muscliffman says...

Tip of the Iceberg. Most shoppers would be shocked if they knew what really goes into so many supermarket 'meat' products.

We hear all the jokes about this, but unfortunately 'many a true word said in jest' is very apt in this matter.

Horse meat is the least of your worries. Every little helps, literally!
Tip of the Iceberg. Most shoppers would be shocked if they knew what really goes into so many supermarket 'meat' products. We hear all the jokes about this, but unfortunately 'many a true word said in jest' is very apt in this matter. Horse meat is the least of your worries. Every little helps, literally! muscliffman
  • Score: 0

11:15am Thu 17 Jan 13

Flusters says...

The cruel practice of rounding up New Forest ponies, including pregnant mares and foals, then shipping them off to the continent in unbearably confined boxes, to be, after an excruciating journey, put to death in a possibly extremely inhumane way, must be stopped. Every time you drive through the New Forrest think of the fate of our poor ponies. The RSPCA is currently spending money, badly needed to look after the animals it already cares for, to go to court to stop the inhumane practices of sending live animals abroad for slaughter.
The cruel practice of rounding up New Forest ponies, including pregnant mares and foals, then shipping them off to the continent in unbearably confined boxes, to be, after an excruciating journey, put to death in a possibly extremely inhumane way, must be stopped. Every time you drive through the New Forrest think of the fate of our poor ponies. The RSPCA is currently spending money, badly needed to look after the animals it already cares for, to go to court to stop the inhumane practices of sending live animals abroad for slaughter. Flusters
  • Score: 0

11:17am Thu 17 Jan 13

tramp_about_town says...

I believe the meat originated from Poland so not sure why the Echo is trying to drum up a local link.
I believe the meat originated from Poland so not sure why the Echo is trying to drum up a local link. tramp_about_town
  • Score: 0

11:18am Thu 17 Jan 13

Flusters says...

In my opinion Tesco and other supermarkets should be found large amounts which should pay legal costs for changing the law and stopping the inhuman practice of sending animals abroad for slaughter.
In my opinion Tesco and other supermarkets should be found large amounts which should pay legal costs for changing the law and stopping the inhuman practice of sending animals abroad for slaughter. Flusters
  • Score: 0

11:29am Thu 17 Jan 13

Huey says...

These burgers are rich in vitamin GG
These burgers are rich in vitamin GG Huey
  • Score: 0

11:35am Thu 17 Jan 13

Flusters says...

www.rspca.org.uk/get
involved/campaigns/f
arm/livetransport
www.rspca.org.uk/get involved/campaigns/f arm/livetransport Flusters
  • Score: 0

11:38am Thu 17 Jan 13

BarrHumbug says...

I had a burger in a Tesco's cafe yesterday, the assistant ask if I wanted anything on it, I said I'll have a fiver each way :-D
I had a burger in a Tesco's cafe yesterday, the assistant ask if I wanted anything on it, I said I'll have a fiver each way :-D BarrHumbug
  • Score: 0

11:41am Thu 17 Jan 13

John T says...

' but did they contain New Forest pony?'

Neigh, but they didn't contain my Lidl pony either.
' but did they contain New Forest pony?' Neigh, but they didn't contain my Lidl pony either. John T
  • Score: 0

11:41am Thu 17 Jan 13

InkZ says...

Ignorance is bliss.
Ignorance is bliss. InkZ
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Thu 17 Jan 13

ekimnoslen says...

really?? seriously?? wrote:
I had such a rant at Tesco`s that my throat`s gone hoarse.
Mislabeling is not acceptable but horse meat is widely eaten across the globe. Bring on the "bunnyburgers"!
[quote][p][bold]really?? seriously??[/bold] wrote: I had such a rant at Tesco`s that my throat`s gone hoarse.[/p][/quote]Mislabeling is not acceptable but horse meat is widely eaten across the globe. Bring on the "bunnyburgers"! ekimnoslen
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Thu 17 Jan 13

scrumpyjack says...

really?? seriously?? wrote:
I had such a rant at Tesco`s that my throat`s gone hoarse.
Well I got it.
[quote][p][bold]really?? seriously??[/bold] wrote: I had such a rant at Tesco`s that my throat`s gone hoarse.[/p][/quote]Well I got it. scrumpyjack
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Thu 17 Jan 13

Mr N James says...

Im finding it hard to see a reason not to eat horse meat.Its only these namby pamby people and dam vegies that say its not nice. Trust me if you were starving and the shops were empty no food in house ,I would eat the horse and i would love it.
Im finding it hard to see a reason not to eat horse meat.Its only these namby pamby people and dam vegies that say its not nice. Trust me if you were starving and the shops were empty no food in house ,I would eat the horse and i would love it. Mr N James
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Thu 17 Jan 13

BBC Escapee says...

Burgers are my stable diet - I thought something was up though as I've had the trots a lot recently!
Burgers are my stable diet - I thought something was up though as I've had the trots a lot recently! BBC Escapee
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Thu 17 Jan 13

BournemouthMum says...

mookie44 wrote:
BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
I think your find that Burger King use the same supplier for their burgers...
I always get the Angus burger which is 100% Aberdeen Angus beef. BK would not risk lying to their customers I don't think. At the end of the day we're all at the mercy of the food producers anyway whatever we buy. The only alternative is to farm our own meat which is out of the question for most people.
[quote][p][bold]mookie44[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]I think your find that Burger King use the same supplier for their burgers...[/p][/quote]I always get the Angus burger which is 100% Aberdeen Angus beef. BK would not risk lying to their customers I don't think. At the end of the day we're all at the mercy of the food producers anyway whatever we buy. The only alternative is to farm our own meat which is out of the question for most people. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Thu 17 Jan 13

Ian_Steel says...

So what if the burgers did?
If people did not want that to happen then the ponies should not have been sold.
Horse meat is slightly healthier than beef anyway and there are far more dangerous ingredients in processed food but no one cares about them.
If you want 100% Beef Burgers then make them yourself. It's about time people went back to war time ethics when it comes to food and how it is cooked and prepared. We only have ourselves to blame over this.
So what if the burgers did? If people did not want that to happen then the ponies should not have been sold. Horse meat is slightly healthier than beef anyway and there are far more dangerous ingredients in processed food but no one cares about them. If you want 100% Beef Burgers then make them yourself. It's about time people went back to war time ethics when it comes to food and how it is cooked and prepared. We only have ourselves to blame over this. Ian_Steel
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Thu 17 Jan 13

Mindvor says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
You owe me a new keyboard! Funniest thing I've read on here for ages :)
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]You owe me a new keyboard! Funniest thing I've read on here for ages :) Mindvor
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Thu 17 Jan 13

BmthNewshound says...

We're constantly being told that we should source our food from local suppliers so whats all the fuss about ?
We're constantly being told that we should source our food from local suppliers so whats all the fuss about ? BmthNewshound
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Thu 17 Jan 13

l'anglais says...

tramp_about_town wrote:
I believe the meat originated from Poland so not sure why the Echo is trying to drum up a local link.
Cos some Pole did a nice job on the Editors plumbing.
John Smith from Lyndhurst was charging a fortune
[quote][p][bold]tramp_about_town[/bold] wrote: I believe the meat originated from Poland so not sure why the Echo is trying to drum up a local link.[/p][/quote]Cos some Pole did a nice job on the Editors plumbing. John Smith from Lyndhurst was charging a fortune l'anglais
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Thu 17 Jan 13

uvox44 says...

i wouldn't worry too much all your burger munchers - horse meat is the least of your worries if you eat crap like that.
i wouldn't worry too much all your burger munchers - horse meat is the least of your worries if you eat crap like that. uvox44
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Thu 17 Jan 13

uvox44 says...

and yes Bournemouthmum don't buy supermarket burgers when you can buy them from MacDonalds or Burgerking, those well known chains of health food restuarants!!!
and yes Bournemouthmum don't buy supermarket burgers when you can buy them from MacDonalds or Burgerking, those well known chains of health food restuarants!!! uvox44
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Thu 17 Jan 13

suzigirl says...

Huey wrote:
These burgers are rich in vitamin GG
LOL You little burger you! What do you think might be mixed up in the doner kebab meat in a Kebab shop?
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: These burgers are rich in vitamin GG[/p][/quote]LOL You little burger you! What do you think might be mixed up in the doner kebab meat in a Kebab shop? suzigirl
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Thu 17 Jan 13

suzigirl says...

It just reminds me of "Porky's" - and why do they call your Horse!
It just reminds me of "Porky's" - and why do they call your Horse! suzigirl
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Thu 17 Jan 13

suzigirl says...

Whoops! meant "why do they call you Horse" silly me - must be having too many burgers!
Whoops! meant "why do they call you Horse" silly me - must be having too many burgers! suzigirl
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Thu 17 Jan 13

paul.p says...

A nice little scare like that will do people the world of good...Burgers will not be on the menu of many a family this week.
A nice little scare like that will do people the world of good...Burgers will not be on the menu of many a family this week. paul.p
  • Score: 0

3:52pm Thu 17 Jan 13

bournenbred says...

I prefer meatballs !

They are the Dogs B******s

:-)
I prefer meatballs ! They are the Dogs B******s :-) bournenbred
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Thu 17 Jan 13

Carolyn43 says...

There's nothing wrong with eating horse meat PROVIDED YOU KNOW YOU ARE EATING IT, which is what the problem is here - it's not listed as one of the ingredients.
There's nothing wrong with eating horse meat PROVIDED YOU KNOW YOU ARE EATING IT, which is what the problem is here - it's not listed as one of the ingredients. Carolyn43
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Thu 17 Jan 13

Football banning order yob says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
Award for the most stupid post goes to...
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]Award for the most stupid post goes to... Football banning order yob
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Thu 17 Jan 13

scoooobles says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
Amazing, best comment ever!
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]Amazing, best comment ever! scoooobles
  • Score: 0

8:57pm Thu 17 Jan 13

PigWhistle0709 says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
In what way are B & M burgers not to be considered 'garbage'?
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]In what way are B & M burgers not to be considered 'garbage'? PigWhistle0709
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Thu 17 Jan 13

alasdair1967 says...

Interesting slant on this beef burgers that not only contain horse but also pork mmmgh me thinks certain members of certain religions will be on there way to there solicitors
Interesting slant on this beef burgers that not only contain horse but also pork mmmgh me thinks certain members of certain religions will be on there way to there solicitors alasdair1967
  • Score: 0

12:34am Fri 18 Jan 13

AdelaidePete says...

Remember before the EU all that beautiful cheap Australian and New Zealand lamb and beef. Now you all subsidise those "farms" in Europe with four cows and a sheep and pay a small fortune for it.
Remember before the EU all that beautiful cheap Australian and New Zealand lamb and beef. Now you all subsidise those "farms" in Europe with four cows and a sheep and pay a small fortune for it. AdelaidePete
  • Score: 0

5:24am Fri 18 Jan 13

master plan says...

Not bothered if I have ate a horse or not. Burgers and sausages are made with all the un-wanted bits any way. If you ever saw that Jamie Oliver program you would have seen all that goes on with food i.e hotdogs made with chicken!!!
Things like pepperoni, salami and all those Eastern European dried sausages can contain horse.
Not bothered if I have ate a horse or not. Burgers and sausages are made with all the un-wanted bits any way. If you ever saw that Jamie Oliver program you would have seen all that goes on with food i.e hotdogs made with chicken!!! Things like pepperoni, salami and all those Eastern European dried sausages can contain horse. master plan
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Curly Jefferson says...

Mindvor wrote:
BournemouthMum wrote:
If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef.

Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.
You owe me a new keyboard! Funniest thing I've read on here for ages :)
Love reading these comments! Haha!
[quote][p][bold]Mindvor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: If people eat that garbage what do they expect? If I want a burger I go to Burgerking or McDonald's or make my own. Those companies farm their own meat and are 100% beef. Just looking at a picture of those awful frozen things makes me feel nauseous.[/p][/quote]You owe me a new keyboard! Funniest thing I've read on here for ages :)[/p][/quote]Love reading these comments! Haha! Curly Jefferson
  • Score: 0

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