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You did it for scampi... now do it for pork please

by 5m Editor
18 September 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Trading Standards departments should take a much more robust stance on dishonest labelling. The law says it is an offence to mislead consumers. And the Food Standards Agency says labelling bacon as British when it is made from foreign pork is indeed misleading.

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THE VOICE OF THE UK PIG INDUSTRY

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & White-hall, and with pro-cessors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

So why no action from Trading Standards?

One reason is that complaints from consumers have to be referred to the Trading Standards department covering the head office of the retailer concerned.

And human nature being what it is, the local authority concerned might be reluctant to initiate an expensive test case on behalf of someone who isn't even a local council tax payer.

NPA is to write to the Local Authorities Coordinating Office on Regulatory Services (LACORS) asking it to make all Trading Standards departments aware of the contents of the leaflet 'How to buy British pork' (see September Pig World) and to urge them to uphold the Food Standards Agency's labelling guidelines.

'We recognise,' says the NPA, 'that there are many pressures on both the time and resources of Trading Standards departments. Nevertheless we hope to persuade them that it would be entirely helpful and appropriate to take a considerably more robust approach to cases of misleading labelling, as this is an issue that is of increasing concern to many consumers and MPs.'

Producers should not be afraid to give Trading Standards departments a hard time if they catch them failing in their duty.

Whilst it is true there are many calls on their resources, it is also true that mislabelling of pork and pork products is a serious issue and one the public feel strongly about.

There used to be similar concern over scampi being mislabelled but sufficient pressure was applied to Trading Standards departments, who in turn applied pressure to manufacturers, caterers and retailers.

Consumers can now tell instantly from the label whether they are buying proper whole-tail scampi or a cheaper substitute. The pig industry has a similarly strong case.

Source: National Pig Association - By Digby Scott - 17th September 2003

5m Editor