Feb 27 2013
The boss of Tesco has vowed to bring meat production "closer to home" and work much more closely with British farmers as part of a raft of changes in response to the horse meat scandal.
Chief executive Philip Clarke has introduced a new testing process so that customers can be sure that what is on the label is in the packet.
He also said that from July all chicken meats sold at Tesco's UK stores will come from British farms, the BBC said.
Mr Clarke told the BBC: "The testing regime is intended to ensure that if it is not on the label it is not in the packet, if it is beef, it is beef, and nothing else. And that is the most comprehensive testing regime I have ever seen, and it's happening right now.
"The second thing is we're going to bring meat production a bit closer to home. We do buy some, particularly for our frozen products, out of Europe, and as we can we'll bring it closer to home. And the third thing is we're going to have more partnerships, more collaboration with farmers."
But he would not promise that the changes would not cost customers more.
"I hope that it doesn't mean price increases, but I can't stand here today and tell you that it won't. I hope it doesn't, I'll work to make sure it doesn't."
Mr Clarke will address the National Farmers' Union conference in Birmingham later, and said he hoped the changes he indicated were "good signs" of why customers should trust Tesco.
Shoppers have said they want more food from British farms on supermarket shelves in the wake of the horse meat scandal, a poll has suggested. Farmers called for more transparency and an end to "short-termism" in some sectors of the food supply chain and for better labelling so people could choose to buy British.
More than three-quarters (78%) of 1,000 people polled for the National Farmers' Union said supermarkets should sell more food from British farms and 43% said they were more likely to buy traceable food from farms in Britain following the revelations over horse meat in processed foods.