Britain’s biggest retailer has stopped selling a farmer-owned cheddar brand – just weeks after pledging to buy more food from closer to home.

Shoppers trying to buy 350g packs of Lake District Extra Mature Cheddar from Tesco.com this week were greeted with the message “Sorry, this product is unavailable”.

The cheddar is made by the farmer-owned cooperative First Milk under its Lake District Dairy Company label.

Tesco pledged earlier this year that it would buy more British and Irish products in the wake of the scandal that saw millions of beef products contaminated with horsemeat. It repeated the pledge at an NFU council meeting last month.

In response to an email enquiry, Tesco customer services said: “We are experiencing some supplier issues at the moment with this cheese so it has been removed from the website.

“I’m sorry but I’m unable to advise when the cheese will be available again.”

“To ensure we’re providing our customers with the best range of products, we often tweak our offer throughout the year.”
Tesco spokeswoman

A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain gave a different response, saying there were no issues with First Milk. The Lake District cheese was “still very much on our books, we’re just not selling it at the moment,” the spokeswoman said.

“To ensure we’re providing our customers with the best range of products, we often tweak our offer throughout the year.

“At the moment, Lake District cheese is not part of Tesco’s range. Customers can still buy a variety of delicious British cheeses, from mild to extra mature.”

First Milk said it was not unusual for a retailer to temporarily stop selling certain products from time to time.

But the brand was on the shelf right now and several in-store promotions were scheduled throughout 2013, the spokeswoman said.

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