Sutton St James pensioner feared meat bought at Holbeach Tesco was eight years old

Denis Sylvester with the steak
Denis Sylvester with the steak
  • Label was ‘very confusing’
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A Sutton St James pensioner was put off his evening meal over a “confusing” label he thought was suggesting the meat he bought had been slaughtered eight years ago.

Denis Sylvester (84) bought a portion of ribeye steak from Tesco in Holbeach showing a “Use By” date of June 19.

2007 is a factory identification number and not a date

Tesco spokesman

But when he got home, Mr Sylvester discovered the words “Slaughtered in IE 2007”, IE being the European Union (EU) code for Ireland.

Mr Sylvester said: “I went to Tesco with my daughter on Wednesday morning and picked up some Irish ribeye steak at the fresh meat counter.

“When I got home, I noticed the meat had a ‘Use By’ date of June 19 and the small wording underneath which I thought had meant that it was meat produced and slaughtered in Ireland in 2007.

“I contacted Tesco at Holbeach and spoke to a woman who said she would enter into a book and suggested I should bring it in as soon as possible so they could look at it.”

Under EU law, a business that sells or supplies meat must have a “traceability system” that shows what animal or group of animals it came from.

The system comes under the Compulsory Beef Labelling Scheme which shows the animal’s place of birth, slaughter and licence number of the slaughterhouse.

But Mr Sylvester said: “To me, it’s a confusing situation to find yourself in when a label seems to read as if the meat was slaughtered in 2007 and the average person may well see it as I do.

“I’ve got a piece of meat that I’m not going to eat, so I’ll be returning it to Tesco as unsatisfactory and hope they will give me my money back.”

The Free Press took a print of the label to Simpsons Butchers in Spalding where butcher Peter Law said: “If the meat had been slaughtered in 2007, it would now look like a piece of wood and it would be inedible and freezer burnt (meat discoloured by dehydration).”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “2007 is a factory identification number and not a date.”