Product withdrawal has no link to Gaza, says Tesco

By Daniel Easterman, July 31, 2014

Tesco has denied that its decision to stop selling a product from the West Bank is a response to Israeli action in Gaza.

From September, the UK's largest supermarket chain will withdraw a brand of dates which are packaged in the territories but grown in Israel.

Concerned customers, who contacted the JC, said they feared Tesco was conducting a boycott of Israeli products in protest against Operation Protective Edge.

But in a statement, Michael Kissman, Tesco's UK communications director, said the chain's policy on Israeli products had not changed.

He wrote: "We continue to source a range of products from Israel and these products continue to be available in our stores.

"All these products are clearly labelled with country of origin in line with EU guidance.

"In terms of sourcing from the West Bank, we currently only source one own-brand product from this area and this product will no longer be stocked from September. However, this decision was taken some months ago and is not connected to the current situation. "

A spokesman for the supermarket said that the move was part of a "regular product review process". He said the dates were being removed for commercial reasons.

Tesco has also asked some of its suppliers to list all their products and ingredients from Israel and the West Bank. It said it had asked for the information because of inquiries received from customers.

The spokesman said: "We have received some questions from customers about products we sell that are sourced from Israel or the West Bank.

"To make sure we answered their questions with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we contacted suppliers to double check our own information, particularly for branded products."

Last updated: 12:07pm, August 1 2014