Consumers in England and Wales are being misled by almost 1/5th
of the foods being labeled as 'local'
are falsely making this claim, reveals a study. The Local Government
Regulation (LGR) - which oversees council regulation - carried out the
inspections in 300 shops, restaurants and tested about 558 products labeled as
'local'. It was found that about 18% of the claims were undoubtedly false,
while 14% could not be verified and so were assumed to be false. Misleading labels
were found on the products like 'Welsh lamb' from New Zealand, 'Somerset butter'
from Scotland, 'Devon ham' from Denmark and 'West Country fish fillets', where
the fish are caught in the West Country but filleted in China.
LGR chairman, Counselor Paul Bettison said, "Councils are working with businesses to make sure consumers have the information they need and that they are not being ripped off. Many people want to support local businesses or choose food that has not traveled from the other side of the world, so it is vital that they have accurate information to help them make their choices."
At present the food labeling legislation does not have a local definition for the term 'local'. But the Food Law Code of Practice states that the term 'local' should mean: "Sales within the supplying establishment's own county plus the greater of either the neighboring county or counties or 30 miles/50 kilometers from the boundary of the supplying establishment's county."