Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Iceland chief in food claim apology
9:20am Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
THE boss of a supermarket firm has apologised for claiming local councils were driving down food quality in the wake of the horsemeat crisis in a letter to York’s council leader.
Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker said last month that the “problem really lies” with local authorities agreeing cheap food contracts for schools and buying food from a poorly-supplied catering industry, and said retailers should not be blamed for the scandal.
City of York Council leader James Alexander subsequently wrote to Mr Walker accusing him of “insulting” school meal staff and described his comments as “staggering”. In a response, Mr Walker said: “I did not intend to denigrate the good work of responsible local authorities or of school dinner ladies in particular, and I apologise if my words have been interpreted in that light.
“The key message I was hoping to convey is that the issue of horsemeat contamination in the food chain has been blown out of all proportion by the media, and that it is completely unfair that the country’s supermarkets have been singled out for blame. This is a manufactured crisis in which nobody has died or, so far as we know, suffered any adverse impact whatsoever on their health. It is not a food safety issue, full stop.”
Mr Walker said he believed “poor regulation” by food standards bodies was a “major contributor to the problem”.