Horse News

Horse meat scandal-hit Tesco at centre of Twitter backlash after customer care message which told followers its staff will ‘Hit the Hay’

By Matt Blake of MailOnline

The ‘inappropriate’ quip triggered a flurry of angry responses from followers

When it emerged Tesco had been selling beef burgers contaminated with horse meat, the last people you would expect to see the funny side were its customer care team.

But the supermarket giant has found itself at the centre of an internet storm after a tweet posted on its Twitter feed informed shoppers yesterday that its staff were off to ‘hit the hay’.

The ill-judged quip triggered a bombardment of angry responses from followers who didn’t find the damaging revelations quite so amusing.

Supermarket bosses were quick to backtrack, desperately apologising to offended clients, saying that the tweet had been ‘scheduled’ before the scandal broke – two days earlier.

But that only stoked the anger further, triggering questions as to why the tweet was not pulled before being sent.

Bad taste? The controversy began at 11pm last night when the supermarket chain's customer care team tweeted thisBad taste? The controversy began at 11pm last night when the supermarket chain’s customer care team tweeted this

It began at 11pm last night when the team tweeted: ‘It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets’.

Immediately, hundreds of the company’s followers replied, condemning the pun for its inappropriate timing and bad taste.

Jake Mulley wrote: ‘How can you joke about the horse meat scandal abnd tell us you’re hitting the hay? Because it was funny?’

@UK life guide added: ‘It’s not really funny when you make horse jokes. The joke is ON you. Wonder if you’ll be laughing when getting sued.’

Trouble: The supermarket giant has found itself at the centre of an internet storm after a tweet posted in its Twitter account informed shoppers yesterday its staff were off to 'hit the hay'Trouble: The supermarket giant has found itself at the centre of an internet storm after a tweet posted in its Twitter account informed shoppers yesterday its staff were off to ‘hit the hay’

The team was quick to apologise, copying and pasting the same apology to every customer who complained.

‘I’m terribly sorry,’ it tweeted. ‘That tweet was scheduled before we knew of the current situation. We’d never intend to make light of it.’

However, claiming the tweet had been scheduled before the scandal broke, only stoked customers’ fury further.

Backlash: The 'inappropriate' quip triggered a flurry of angry responses from followers who didn't find the damaging revelations quite so amusing

 

horse meat scandal, Tesco

 

Backlash: The 'inappropriate' quip triggered a flurry of angry responses from followers who didn't find the damaging revelations quite so amusingBacklash: The ‘inappropriate’ quip triggered a flurry of angry responses from followers who didn’t find the damaging revelations quite so amusing

It is not the first Twitter gaffe the department has made since the horse meat scandal exploded, spawning a flurry of horse-related puns on the social networking site.

One user asked: ‘Is it true you have started stocking RED RUM? And is it like your regular rum?’

Tesco Customer Care was happy to help, responding: ‘I can’t seem to find anything under red rum. Are you able to let me know which store you shop in so i can double check?’

Apology: The team was quick to apologise, copying and pasting the same apology to every customer who complainedApology: The team was quick to apologise, copying and pasting the same apology to every customer who complained

The alert was first raised by Irish food watchdogs earlier this week after horse DNA was found in burgers sold through Tesco, Iceland, Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes in Ireland.

It subsequently emerged that burgers from the same batches were sold in the British outlets of both Tesco and Iceland. Incredibly, the beef content in one Everyday Value burger sold by Tesco was actually 29 per cent horse meat.

More than ten million burgers have now been removed from sale, including more than 100,000 made at the Yorkshire factory of Dalepak.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-op immediately decided to remove thousands of packs of frozen burgers as a precautionary measure.

David Cameron reacted angrily, condemning Tesco yesterday, saying: ‘People in our country will have been very concerned to read this morning that when they thought they were buying beef burgers they were buying something that had horse meat in it.’

It is not the first Twitter gaffe the department has made since the horse meat scandal exploded, spawning a flurry of horse-related puns on the social networking site.

 

Oh dear: It is not the first Twitter gaffe the department has made since the horse meat scandal exploded, spawning a flurry of horse-related puns on the social networking siteOh dear: It is not the first Twitter gaffe the department has made since the horse meat scandal exploded, spawning a flurry of horse-related puns on the social networking site

‘This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs,’ he added, calling for an urgent investigation by Britain’s Food Standards Agency.

Labour says comprehensive food tests are needed to let families know how far horse meat contamination has spread into the food supply.

Also today, it was revealed there is no evidence of contamination of horse DNA in Burger King products, a major food group has insisted.

Scandal: How the Daily Mail covered the story on WednesdayScandal: How the Daily Mail covered the story on Wednesday

The ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s biggest suppliers and processors, suspended all production at one of its plants in Co Monaghan, Ireland, after tests found contamination in frozen burgers.

But it has since insisted that meat for fast-food giant Burger King was produced and stored separately at the plant.

It said: ‘We would like to reiterate that all Burger King products produced by us are stored separately and manufactured on an independent line.

‘There is no evidence of any contamination of raw material used for the manufacture of any Burger King products.’

The group revealed last night it had stopped work at its Silvercrest Foods plant in Co Monaghan until further notice.

The firm said that, following new results from the Irish Department of Agriculture, it believes the source of the contaminated material is one supplier.

Ten million burgers suspected of containing some levels of horse meat were cleared from several supermarkets’ freezers across Ireland and the UK this week and are expected to be destroyed.

The scandal comes just a week after Chief Executive Philip Clarke said Tesco was “back on form” in Britain after beating analysts’ forecasts for Christmas sales.

Tesco had hailed a successful relaunch of its meat ranges as a contributing factor to its strongest sales growth in three years.

Shares in Britain’s biggest retailer fell as much as 1.7 percent on Wednesday, knocking 480 million pounds off its market value, reacting to news late Tuesday that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had found horse DNA in beef burger products sold by Tesco in the UK and Ireland.

The FSAI said beef burgers sold at Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland were also discovered to contain horse DNA.

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10 replies »

  1. In the US the reason horses were not allowed to be slaughtered in the same facilities as cattle and other animals was because they were previously mixing horse meat with beef and selling it as beef. In Arizona the rules are still on the books, retail as well had to keep horse meat separate from beef:

    3-2127. Segregation of horsemeat products sold at retail from other meat products

    All horsemeat or horsemeat products sold at retail shall be sold from a case separate from that which contains the flesh of cattle.

    http://www.azleg.gov/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=3

    Article 4

    Horsemeat
    3-2121 Definitions
    3-2122 License to slaughter horses for human consumption; application; records required; appointment of inspectors
    3-2123 Slaughterhouses and processing houses; separation from other meat handling; inspection; hearing; revocation of license; exemption of retailers
    3-2124 Inspection of horses before and after slaughter; condemnation of unfit products
    3-2125 Labeling of horsemeat; requirements
    3-2126 Signs required for sale of horsemeat
    3-2127 Segregation of horsemeat products sold at retail from other meat products
    3-2128 Sale of horsemeat not for human consumption in hermetically sealed container or frozen package
    3-2129 Sale of horsemeat to state institutions prohibited
    3-2130 Unlawful use of horsemeat
    3-2131 Violation; classification
    3-2132 Labeling of equines other than horses

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  2. I’d like to urge all anti-slaughter advocates here in North America to reach out “across the pond” to keep this disgraceful issue at the forefront of the media. We need to help educate the consumers in the U.K. of the dangers of consuming horse meat. There is the potential for thousands of people to have UNKNOWINGLY consumed not only an unethical product but also the risk of a product that research shows carries health risks. The idea of consuming horse meat makes me ill on a number of fronts but the majority of consumers are unaware of the risks that we as advocates are. I urge everyone to seek avenues in the U.K. to educate and help apply pressure to the corporations’ globally, that this will not be tolerated. We all know what corporations respond to the most: PROFIT! It is my hope that there is a class action lawsuit launched by consumers in U.K. Those who propose opening slaughter houses again in America, those who profit from the slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico will have some sleepless nights and an even bigger hurdle to cross while trying to push their profit agenda of slaughtering our equines.

    As advocates, we have been given a golden opportunity for a global audience…lets’ not let it go by the wayside. We owe it to the horses.

    “Make hay while the sun shines.” It is shining brightly right now.

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  3. Really, Are we all so naive to believe that horse meat doesn’t find its way into our food? Food, clothing virtually everything we consume travels hundreds even thousands of miles to us often pieced together in many factories and countries before becoming the final product we consume. Hopefully those responsible for slaughtering horses will consume some toxic horse meat in their burgers.

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  4. These actually could be USA mustage if they ground them up and cold freeze them. This is even worse tahn we thought because they are only testing for some DNA. There also could be other animals besides horse and pig.UGH!! Then it get in the world meat supply!

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  5. It’s sad enough that any animal (especially horses) would have to endure being slaughtered, but then to have it suffer that horrific fate and again be thrown in the trash heap because of people being afraid of contamination, seems beyond the pale of disrespect for what the animal suffered FOR humans! It should be required that every human (from the civilized world) watch a horse be slaughtered before any politician allows these animals to animals to be killed in this manner.

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  6. Thank you for the update. Wonder if any of that reached the US? Our government would have tried to cover it up knowing them….Aldi? Burger King? Hmmm.. They didn’t take it seriously, tried to be slick, got caught, and tried to make light of it with an angry public… There goes their profit margins. Serves them right. So we’re not three only ones who don’t do horse meat…i hope this kills it for slaughter houses in the US. I hope that company loses it’s butt as a result of this scandal.

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  7. I’m beginning to wonder if people in the UK and Ireland really don’t know that their government allows thousands of horses to be sent across their borders every year to be slaughtered. There are plenty of people here in the US still don’t know about horse slaughter either. The consumers reaction to this seems to say they don’t. That would tell me that the horse rescue in the UK that told me in no uncertain terms that they approved of humane horse slaughter do not let the people donating to its upkeep know about it. To them it’s all about the money.

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    • Actually, our government DO NOT let horses go abroad to be slaughtered, it is ILLEGAL to do so. There are two abattoirs in England licensed to slaughter horses and the carcasses are shipped over-sea. Thank you.

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