Booths named as retailer embroiled in beef scandal
High-end northern supermarket chain Booths has been named as the supermarket selling South American and European beef as “best British”.
Dubbed “the Waitrose of the North”, it has branches in Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
The retailer has confirmed that it is supporting the National Food Crime Unit in its investigation into the supplier, which was first revealed by Farmers Weekly.
Booths itself is not under investigation.
See also: “British only” supermarket involved in major beef fraud probe
A statement from the company said: “Booths’ support for the investigation relates to a limited selection of cooked meat products and Booths has no knowledge of any other aspects of the investigation.
“At the point of being made aware of the potential issues in 2021 Booths acted instantly, removing all relevant products from sale and ceased trading with the supplier with immediate effect.
“Booths would like to confirm that fresh meat, poultry and game products are entirely unaffected by this investigation and that with the exception of the limited selection of cooked meat products impacted in 2021, Booths is absolutely confident in its British-only meat commitment.
‘Not a food safety issue’
“It is also important to note that while the NFCU investigation relates to a potential serious food fraud incident, this is not a food safety issue.
“Issues of provenance, traceability, honesty and authenticity are of the highest importance to Booths and the business has been fully co-operating with and supporting the work of the NFCU for the past 18 months.
“It is important that the NFCU is able to complete its investigations in an objective and impartial manner. The NFCU continues to have the full support of Booths and to that effect, Booths will make no further comment at this stage.”
National Beef Association (NBA) chief executive Neil Shand said: “We need to wait and see who the supplier is and let the investigation run its course. Clearly we need to get to the bottom of it.
“The public need to be assured this is not a food scare, it is a labelling and presentation problem. But the fact someone has got the audacity to imitate our product is disgusting.”