UK: Waitrose to set up frozen food capability
Waitrose has confirmed plans to build its own UK frozen food facility just days after pulling its frozen beef meatballs from shelves.
The UK upmarket retailer today confirmed it had pulled two batches of its Essential 16 British Meatballs produced last summer after the product was found to potentially contain traces of pork.
In a further announcement today, Waitrose said it will now be building its own UK capability to produce a range of frozen meat products. The unit is planned to be operational within the next three months.
The facility will be based at the Yorkshire site of its exclusive fresh beef supplier Dovecote Park. Waitrose said all the beef produced by Dovecote is sourced from "a known and trusted group of British farmers - none of the beef is bought on the open market".
It added that the frozen meat products it had recalled were not produced by the supplier.
"Our customers rightly expect the highest standards of product quality and integrity from us and we won't let anything stand in the way of our delivering this," said Waitrose managing director Mark Price.
"Dovecote Park is a dedicated supplier to Waitrose. They share our values and our commitment to British farming so extending our joint activities into a range of frozen meat products is a tremendously positive move."
The meatballs is the second recall for the retailer. Late last month the grocer was forced to pull frozen burgers from shelves due to using one of the suppliers caught up in the horse meat scandal, Dalepak.
Price said: "The frozen beef burgers were put back on sale after tests confirmed that the meat in the product was 100% beef. More recently, one test on frozen meatballs showed that the meat in them was, as it should be, 100% beef. However, another test indicated there may be some pork in some of the meatballs and the product was therefore taken off sale. Neither frozen beefburgers nor frozen meatballs tested positive for horsemeat."
ABP Food Group, which supplied the beef meatballs to Waitrose, said all tests were found to be negative for traces of the pork ingredient.
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