A POPULAR supermarket chain that has branches throughout Cumbria have confirmed that they have been linked to 'potential food fraud' issues over beef being falsely labelled as British. 

Booths, which has stores in Keswick, Kendal and Penrith, say they have been working 'closely and co-operatively' with the National Food Crime Unit on the matter but are 'categorically' not being investigated. 

The incident involves pre-packed slices of beef and deli products going back to 2021 that were packaged as if from the UK but in fact, produced in Europe and South America. 

The retailer has said they 'acted instantly' removing the products from stores and ceased trading with the unnamed supplier involved - the supplier is currently being investigated.  

In a statement released by Booths, they said: "Following some recent speculation Booths Supermarkets can confirm that they have been working closely and cooperatively with the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) since being made aware of potential food fraud issues in 2021.

"Booths are categorically not under investigation by the NFCU.

"Booths support for the investigation relates to a limited selection of cooked meat products and Booths have no knowledge of any other aspects of the investigation. 

"At the point of being made aware of the potential issues in 2021 Booths acted instantly, removing all relevant products from sale and ceased trading with the supplier with immediate effect. 

"Booths would like to confirm that fresh meat, poultry and game products are entirely unaffected by this investigation and that with the exception of the limited selection of cooked meat products impacted in 2021 Booths is absolutely confident in its British only meat commitment. 

"It is also important to note the whilst the NFCU investigation relates to a potential serious food fraud incident, this is not a food safety issue.

"Issues of provenance, traceability, honesty and authenticity are of the highest importance to Booths and the business has been fully co-operating with and supporting the work of the NFCU for the past 18 months.  It is important that the NFCU is able to complete its investigations in an objective and impartial manner. 

"The NFCU continue to have the full support of Booths and to that effect, Booths will make no further comment at this stage, any further enquiries relating to this matter should be directed to the NFCU," they said.