An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has found that Tesco sold a vegan macaroni dish containing traces of turkey. Sainsbury’s “meatless” meatballs also had positive results, containing traces of pork. Both companies have recently attracted positive attention with new vegan products.
According to the newspaper report, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has now initiated an investigation to check whether the allegations are correct. The tests were carried out in a food laboratory accredited by the German government, as local British laboratories refused to carry out the tests.
Sainsbury’s has even placed the “Vegetarian Society” logo on its packaging, a badge for products that have to meet strict food standards. If a supermarket is found guilty of having violated the Food Safety Act 1990, the persons concerned may face up to two years in prison and the companies could face high fines. The charge is ‘Incorrect labelling of foodstuffs in a misleading manner.’
Reacting to the Daily Telegraph, Sainsbury’s said it would initiate its own investigation. “These products are manufactured in a meatless factory,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesman. “Sainsbury’s and the Vegetarian Society also carry out regular controls and no problems have been found so far. However, we are concerned about these results and are conducting a full investigation with our supplier.”
Tesco also made a statement. “We take the quality and integrity of our products very seriously and understand that our vegan and vegetarian products should be just that. Our first DNA tests found no traces of animal DNA in the butternut pumpkin product on the market today,” said a Tesco spokesman.
Lynne Elliot, Executive Director of the Vegetarian Society, also said it was the manufacturer’s responsibility to comply with the standards. “We have strict criteria that every product must meet in order to display one of our trademarks.” The results of the investigation are not yet known. If the claims should prove to be true, it would greatly damage the image of the supermarkets.