Tesco under fire over ‘dirty’ tuna sales and milk price cuts

Tesco is attempting to ward off hits to its reputation on two sides after Greenpeace attacked the supermarket over “dirty” tuna sales and farmers raised concerns over the decision to cut the price of milk.

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Tesco under fire over dirty tuna sales and milk price cuts

Greenpeace has accused Tesco of stocking the tuna brand Oriental & Pacific, which it says uses large nets, known as purse seines, to catch tuna and can harm other wildlife. The charity said the supermarket pledged two years ago to ensure all its own-brand tuna was sustainably caught using more selective forms of fishing, such as pole and line.

However, in Greenpeace’s latest tuna league table, Tesco comes last of all the supermarkets because it is selling so called “dirty” tuna and has “no time bound” commitment to use sustainable tuna in other products. Asda also performs badly because just half its own-brand tuna is sustainable.

Sainsbury’s comes top of the list for “remaining at the forefront of tuna sustainability”, while the efforts of the Co-operative, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons are also recognised.

Greenpeace campaigner Ariana Densham says: “Tesco has undermined its promise to protect the oceans by bringing dodgy tuna back on to supermarket shelves. If Tesco wants to catch up with the front runners and win back consumer confidence they must take this dirty tuna off their shelves.”

Tesco has refuted the claims, writing on its Twitter account that it was one of the first retailers to move to 100 per cent pole and line on its own brand tuna and that is has promised to switch to sustainable tuna in products including pasta, sandwiches and salad. The supermarket also says it will insist O&P make a similar commitment on sustainability.

Meanwhile, Tesco is trying to head off criticism of its decision to cut the price of milk with a series of print ads outlining its “promise” to British dairy farmers. The supermarket is also running further ads alongside that promote the fact that from today (3 March) the price of 4 pints of milk will drop to £1 and 6 pints to £1.48

The ads include the strapline “down and staying down” and are part of its plans to focus on every day low prices. It has already reduced the cost of salad tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers and onions.

Tesco says all its milk is responsibly sourced and that farmers are always paid a fair and independently agreed price for their milk.

However, the National Farmers Union says the move is not good news for the farming industry, with many dairy farmers already selling milk at a loss. There are concerns other supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons could follow suit, dragging down the price of milk.

Tesco made a commitment to invest £200m in bringing down the cost of everyday staples as part of a strategy announced last week that aims to position the retailer for the “new era of retail”. Other plans include faster roll-out of store revamps, a £200m investment in the Fuel Save programme that offers customers up to 50p off a litre of milk and plans to launch a digital version of its Clubcard loyalty scheme.

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