The Nationwide Meals Crime Unit (NFCU) is investigating potential meals fraud involving pre-packed sliced beef which was labelled as British however got here from South America and Europe.
A grocery store within the UK has been pressured to take away merchandise from its cabinets.
The unit has declined to call the retailer or the provider of the meat.
Andrew Quinn, deputy chief of the NFCU, mentioned it was not meals security challenge however a matter of meals fraud, which it takes very severely.
The merchandise embrace pre-packed sliced beef and deli merchandise.
Mr Quinn mentioned: “The retailer was notified on the identical day that we took motion towards the meals enterprise suspected of the fraud and instantly eliminated all affected merchandise from their cabinets.
“The retailer continues to work carefully and cooperatively with the NFCU investigation to progress the case towards the provider. This isn’t a meals security challenge however a matter of meals fraud.”
The BBC has contacted UK supermarkets for remark. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, the Co-op, Waitrose, Morrisons, Iceland and Marks & Spencer mentioned they aren’t the retailer that had been equipped with the meat.
Charlotte Di Cello, director of buying and selling at Waitrose, mentioned: “We all know each farmer that produces our Waitrose beef. At Waitrose, greater welfare means greater welfare and British means British. These requirements are basic to our make-up and it will by no means change.”
The investigation – codenamed “Operation Hawk” – was made public in December by the Meals Requirements Company, which is the mother or father physique of the NFCU.
On the time it mentioned it was wanting into the administrators of an organization which bought giant volumes of pre-packed meat to UK grocery store retailer “who satisfaction themselves on solely promoting British merchandise”.
Nonetheless, it didn’t disclose particulars of the probe, together with what kind of meat was in query.
Some commerce associations advised Farmers Weekly journal, which revealed that beef was on the centre of the investigation, they have been upset that it had taken till now for some info to be launched.
A spokesman for the Affiliation of Unbiased Meat Suppliers, mentioned: “It is just at this time that we’ve discovered the product involved is beef, and it’s our perception, given the recognition of sliced cooked beef throughout all commerce channels, that its sale by meals fraudsters is not going to have been restricted to a single grocery store.
“The NFCU’s present play e book has the potential to wreck UK abroad commerce just by their coverage of an absence of transparency and trade engagement.”
The NFCU’s Mr Quinn mentioned: “Any fraud investigations of this nature take time to undergo proof and convey to any consequence, together with any potential prosecution.
“We take meals fraud very severely and are appearing urgently to guard the buyer.”