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RedTractor logo is revealed for ready meals.

THE food industry is stepping up efforts to reassure shoppers about the origin of their meat in the wake of last year's horsemeat scandal by launching a Red Tractor logo on ready meals.

The logo, introduced 14 years ago, is only carried on food products that reach certain standards of animal welfare and can be traced back to British farms.

The kitemark has never appeared on ready meals foods before because their ingredients list was deemed too complicated.

But now the Red Tractor have introduced a logo which highlights that 100 per cent of the meat used in ready meals and pies reaches its standards.

The move follows plummeting confidence in chilled foods after horsemeat DNA was found in burgers and a range of ready meals.

Britons binned 18 million ready meals in the aftermath of the scandal and sales have still not recovered.

David Clarke, chief executive of Red Tractor, said: "The new 'Made With' logo has been in development for some time and although it isn't a direct reaction to horsemeat, the events that unfolded in 2013 certainly made us look at it even more seriously."

Despite falls in sales, the chilled ready meal market is still big business, with the UK spending PS2.5 billion on the convenience food each year.

Retail giant Asda will launch the logo on its chilled beef ready meals later this month and there are plans to roll it out to other products over the rest of the year.

Ade McKeon, Asda brand director, said: "We're proud to have worked with Red Tractor on a project of this kind.

"Our customers tell us that it's important for them to know exactly where their food comes from, so we're delighted that from February 2014 we will be the first retailer to have the Red Tractor stamp of approval on all our chilled beef ready meals."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2014
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