UK Member of Parliament Andrew George, Liberal Democrat food and rural affairs spokesman, has criticised Tesco’s strong performance, saying it comes at the expense of farmers.

George argued that the UK’s largest food retailer had hiked retail prices of fresh food while declining to pass on this benefit to producers. “In such a tight market it is not the shareholders or senior executives who are suffering. It’s the farmers’ incomes that are being squeezed,” he is reported as saying by the Guardian.

Tesco CEO Terry Leahy dismissed equally critical claims by environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth as “absolute nonsense”. FoE argued that Tesco is actively seeking to put small independent retailers out of business and selling furniture constructed using illegally logged timber, the Guardian reports.

The Consumers’ Association defended Tesco, arguing that the company’s profits were no bad thing for shoppers.