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Tesco blames suppliers for tainted tomatoes

The Hungarian unit of UK supermarket chain Tesco said that tomatoes on its shelves with higher-than-acceptable levels of pesticides and herbicides were put there because suppliers had misinformed the retailer.

Local phytosanitary officials found tomatoes from Spain at a Tesco store in Szekszárd (SW Hungary) to contain levels of pesticides and herbicides over the accepted limit, the Rural Development Ministry said on its website on Friday.

The suppliers of the tomatoes assured Tesco the tomatoes were within all food safety thresholds, Tesco said. Tesco will take steps against the suppliers, it added.

Samples were taken on April 11, and Tesco was informed by local officials of the high pesticide and herbicide levels on April 21. By then, the 220kg of tomatoes concerned and displayed in stores around the country ─ 20kg of those at Szekszárd ─ were not available in the stores any more, their sell-by date having been April 14, Tesco said.