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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Tesco anger over milk shake plot
Chocolate and raspberry flavours have been withdrawn
Red-faced bosses at British Sugar have admitted a secret plot to clear faulty milk shakes from Tesco stores without telling the company.

British Sugar discovered a problem in a small quantity of its Crusha milk shakes after customers complained about the taste.

But rather than tell stockists Tesco - and risk negative publicity - British Sugar decided to take covert action.

It sent its own workers into Tesco stores with instructions to buy as many bottles of raspberry and chocolate Crusha as they could.

Mystery shoppers

The aim was to buy up all 580 of the affected bottles without alerting the supermarket giant, which is one of its biggest customers.

If confronted by Tesco staff, the mystery shoppers were told to say they were buying up milkshakes for a kids' party.

Clearly with the benefit of hindsight we would have handled this differently and we will not use this method in the future
British Sugar
But the scheme backfired when Tesco bosses found out.

The supermarket giant has now ordered its shelves to be cleared of two flavours of Crusha across all of its stores.

"The product is being withdrawn because we want to have the highest quality product on our shelves", a Tesco spokesman told BBC News Online.

He said Tesco had "expressed its concern" to British Sugar, who had assured the supermarket giant it would not be using such methods again.

In a statement, British Sugar said: "Clearly with the benefit of hindsight we would have handled this differently and we will not use this method in the future."

It said it had decided to use covert methods because the problem was not harmful to health - and only applied to a small amount of the product.

The products being withdrawn are 740ml Chocolate Crusha, carrying code L3128, 300ml Chocolate Crusha, code L3204, and 740ml Raspberry Crusha, code L3133.

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16 Sep 03  |  Business

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