Poetic licence taken on some food labels

01st April 2011 - Fine Cut

Shoppers have been fooled by some misleading food labels, on which manufacturers have taken "poetic licence."

That's according to a report published by Which?, which appeared in the Daily Mail and confirmed that in one of the worst cases, a pot of guacamole (an avocado-based dip) contained only three per cent avocado.

Furthermore, one John West product, its Crab Pate, contained only 31 per cent crab - the rest being made up by white fish and other ingredients. Aldi's Duck and Port Pate came under scrutiny too, as it had only 0.3 per cent port, and six per cent duck.

Pork was the biggest ingredient found in the duck pate, accounting for a whopping 45 per cent of the ingredients.

However these labels, whilst confusing for shoppers, are not classified as illegal. A representative of the department for environment, food and rural affairs (which takes responsibility for labels on UK foods) made a statement confirming the news.

The department stated: "There is no requirement as to what percentage of the ingredient the good must contain, solely that if it is labelled 'crab pate', it must list the percentage of crab in the ingredients."

The Which? report, also cited on Open Your Eyes News, highlighted another food product - Hartley's Strawberry Jelly; which, despite its name, contained no strawberries. Its strawberry-flavoured counterpart, Nesquik Strawberry Milkshake Mix, also listed none of the red berries within its ingredients.

A food researcher for Which?, Shefalee Loth, made clear what the organisation wanted from British food manufacturers: "Some food manufacturers, and even some supermarkets, take poetic licence with the naming of their products to highlight the most desirable ingredients."

"Although this practice isn't illegal, it is confusing to consumers. We want retailers and manufacturers to name their products clearly and accurately."

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