The Manchester Evening News has apologised after reporting claims that a dead mouse was found in a packet of protein shake.
The manufacturer of the product, Myprotein, has previously said it was taking legal action against publishers of what it described as a “deliberate and malicious fake news story”.
The company said in a statement: “We treat all customer complaints extremely seriously, and we have completed the full investigation into this matter.
“The batch in which the product was produced on the 9th March 2017 between 23.36pm – 1.13am, then ordered by the customer on the 12th March. The conclusive investigation & 3rd party accredited laboratory tests have proven without doubt, that the ‘foreign object’ was not present in the pouch when it left the Myprotein production facility, and in fact became deceased in early April.”
The Manchester Evening News said: “On 11 April 2017 we published a claim by a user of Myprotein’s protein shake powder that he had found a dead mouse in a packet of it, with the implication being that the mouse had found its way into the powder during the production process, and that he believed his health had been put at risk.
“Independent investigations have proven that the mouse could not have entered the powder during the production process and this is consistent with the statement issued by Myprotein on their Facebook and Twitter pages on 14 April 2017.
“We accept that the allegations about Myprotein are untrue and we apologise to them.”
Under the 2013 Defamation Act businesses can sue for libel if a statement caused, or was likely to cause, serious financial loss.