Beefeater owner Whitbread to track meat 'from field to fork'
Beefeater owner Whitbread yesterday vowed it would track ingredients from “field to fork” after being dragged into the horse meat scandal earlier this month.
The leisure group, which owns the chains Brewers Fayre, Premier Inn and Costa, withdrew lasagne and beef burger products from its menus following the discovery of equine DNA on February 14.
In the wake of an investigation into its meat supply chain, Whitbread said it was taking measures such as the extension of independent batch testing on processed meat and the requirement for certification from meat suppliers.
It is also planning a new system of traceability to include a clear tracking of ingredients from “field to fork”.
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The company, which expects to have newly sourced and certified beef burgers back on its menus this week, said it was determined to play its part in “repairing a flawed system”.
It added: “We believe that a wholesale change is required to the way the supply chain is regulated and a tougher regime needs to be put in place.
As a major player within the industry we intend to take an active role and assist the Food Standards Agency in setting the standards in the food supply chain that the UK public expect and deserve.”
The update on the company’s meat supply came as Whitbread announced underlying sales growth of 2.7 per cent in the 11 weeks to February 14.
The figure compares with 3.3 per cent in the previous quarter.
Chief executive Andy Harrison said: “We see no change to market conditions, although we expect a more competitive environment.”