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BPEX challenge retailers on origin labelling

by 5m Editor
10 July 2006, at 3:28pm

UK - In a newly released report the British Pig Executive is calling on supermarkets and processors to improve country of origin labelling on pork products.

British Pig Executive This follows an investigation that revealed half of all branded products failed to give clear information. Presenting the report, BPEX chairman Stuart Houston said:

"Retailers are failing in their responsibilities to enforce their own standards on the products of other manufacturers.

In general 'Britishness' is not a key factor in consumers' purchasing decisions, but in meat purchases, country of origin is a key factor."

Key points from report

  • 47% of all manufacturers' branded products had cleat-origin labelling - with over half, therefore, failing to give clear or any country of origin information.
  • In April/May 2006 BPEX completed a comprehensive survey of the labelling of 276 pork and pork products sold by the UK's top nine food retailers. Of these, 55 were branded products and 221 were own label products.
  • This survey was prompted by the FSA's own current review of compliance with official Guidance on Country of Origin Labelling. The FSA have found (2005) that 81% of processed meat products failed specifically to indicate the origin of the main meat ingredient. Existing FSA Guidance makes clear that the sorts of information that could lead consumers to attribute a particular place of origin include the use of country or place names in the name of the food or in its trade or brand name.
  • BPEX's Imports Report (April 2006) reveals that 858,000 tonnes of pork and pork products were imported into the UK during 2005, and 70% of this raw material would be illegal to produce in the UK on the grounds of pig welfare.
  • Retailers' country of origin labelling practice varies, with the top retailer scoring 100% of own label pork, bacon, ham and sausage products having clear origin labelling, and the worst performing retailer scoring only 47%.
  • 47% of all manufacturers' branded products had clear origin labelling - with over half, therefore, failing to give clear or any country of origin information.
  • One in every four own label products sold has no clear country of origin information - where such information is missing or is ambiguous or potentially misleading to consumers.
  • 'Produced in the UK' as a solus on-pack message has become a euphemism for 'Made from imported pork.
  • There are examples of packaging which make it difficult for the consumer to be sure where the product comes from - and there are examples of packaging formats and wordings which are clearly misleading.

Read this Report (PDF)

Read the BPEX Labelling Report here.

ThePigSite Editorial Staff

5m Editor