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Issue:- 6 March 2014

Tesco under fire for selling 'dirty' tuna in Liverpool

PEOPLE in Liverpool have "exposed" local Tesco stores that are "selling the controversial brand of tuna singled out for heavy criticism by Greenpeace" and by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Fish Fight programme watched by millions recently on Channel 4.

As part of a nationwide hunt for tins of Oriental and Pacific across the UK, a brand of tuna dubbed as one of the 'dirtiest on supermarket shelves' by Greenpeace, people from Liverpool took part in the Greenpeace investigation. They discovered local stores to be stocking the dodgy tuna which is caught using fishing methods that can kill sharks, rays and turtles.

The supermarket is singled out for criticism from both Greenpeace and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, for re-introducing unsustainable tuna on to its shelves after a successful public campaign to remove 'dirty' tuna from supermarkets in the UK in 2011. Campaigners see this move as undermining their public promise to clean up their act.

Greenpeace has released a league table of the 10 major tuna brands in which Tesco are at the bottom of the leading supermarkets. Oriental and Pacific comes last in the league table overall because it's the most unsustainable tuna available to consumers in the survey.

Ariana Densham, Greenpeace UK Oceans Campaigner said:- "Tesco is at the bottom of the pile of supermarkets because as soon as they achieved their bold promise to use 100 per cent pole and line tuna in their own-brand tins, they immediately started refilling their shelves with 'dirty' tuna that is caught in a way that can kill turtles, sharks and rays. Oriental & Pacific is 100 per cent dodgy with zero per cent effort to clean up their act. This is pure hypocrisy from Tesco - the supermarket that promised to be totally up front about where the food that they sell us comes from is now rolling back their pledge to protect the oceans."

Greenpeace praise Sainsbury's as a 'Top Tuna Supermarket'  for having remained at the forefront of tuna sustainability for many years. Nearly ¾ of all the tinned tuna Sainsbury's sells is sustainable which is more than any other retailer.

Ariana Densham continued:- "Sainsbury's, remains a market leader on tuna sustainability. For many years, their tuna has been 100% pole and line which is great news for sharks, turtles and rays. If Tesco wants to catch up with the front runners and win back consumer confidence, they must take this dirty tuna off their shelves today."

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said:- "The Fish Fight and Greenpeace tuna campaign has been a huge success - our supermarkets and big tuna brands all told us they didn't want their names on unsustainable tuna, but a number of them are finding new ways to keep 'dirty' tuna on the shelves. Tesco made one of the biggest commitments of all to sell the most sustainable tuna, but as our new Fish Fight programme shows, they now stock a new brand called Oriental and Pacific, which is caught using methods that accidentally catch and kill endangered animals like turtles, rays and sharks. There's no information on Oriental and Pacific tins to tell shoppers how the tuna was caught. If they really care about our oceans then Tesco should take this tuna off the shelves today, and other supermarkets must follow suit."

Huyton businessman jailed for £1.1m cigarette fraud

A businessman has been jailed today after over 5.5 million smuggled cigarettes were discovered at a Huyton industrial unit. Stephen Nicholas Riozzi, 53, of The Park, Huyton, was found at the industrial unit in December 2011 by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators. The unit contained 20 pallets of cigarettes smuggled from China and over 182kgs of counterfeit hand rolling tobacco (HRT) worth an estimated £1.1 million in evaded tax.  Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:- "Riozzi has profited from the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco and now faces a full investigation of his assets in the UK and abroad.  We urge anyone with information about the sale, transport, or storage of suspect alcohol or tobacco in the Merseyside area to contact us on 0800 59 5000. You can also report suspicious trading, tax evasion or smuggling via our website to help us tackle organised crime in the north west."  When Riozzi was arrested, he gave investigators a false address and denied any knowledge of the illegal tobacco products. However, HMRC officers found over £56,200 and 6,310 euros in cash hidden in wash bags in his wardrobe at his real address. After being presented with the evidence of his illegal business activity, Riozzi pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court in January 2014. The seized cigarettes are branded Golden Seaglles, which are manufactured in the Far East solely for smuggling by organised criminal gangs and are not legitimately for sale in the UK. The cigarettes and HRT have been recycled to fuel the National Grid.

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