Whitbread commits to a new meat standard

WHITBREAD HAS announced that it will be taking a “wide range of actions” following the discovery of horse meat in two of its products last week.



The leisure group’s boss has also criticised other hospitality businesses for failing to get involved in the current testing regime.


A statement today by the leisure group, which owns chains including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, outlined how it will be establishing a new system to trace processed meats from field to fork. Independent batch testing of processed meats will also be extended and a requirement for suppliers to have certification for all processed meat products will be introduced.


A spokesman said a tougher regime of testing was required: “It has become clear that this is a Europe wide issue of quality control within parts of the processed meat supply chain, supplying many restaurants and retailers. The situation is totally unacceptable and we are determined to play our part in repairing a flawed system.” 


“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,” he added.


Chief executive Andy Harrison has also hinted that some food businesses were failing to respond to the crisis with a number of major retailers and wholesalers remaining absent from the Food Standard Agency’s list of firms to have submitted test results.


He told the Guardian: “The suppliers who supply us [Whitbread] also supply many of our competitors. There are very many well-known names that are not there [on the FSA’s list].”


Harrison today published the company’s financial results. Sales across the company rose 2.7% in the 11 weeks to February 14th and 16.9% for the 50 weeks to the same date. However, Sky reported that shares had fallen on the back of the testing regime announcement.