Call for clear labelling on supermarket and branded pork, bacon and gammon

Union Shelfwatch finds consumers confused by poor labelling


Thu, 02 Nov 2017


NFU Scotland

NFU Scotland’s latest shelfwatch, looking at almost 35,000 packs of pork, bacon and gammon in 47 supermarket stores, has found that consumers will often struggle to identify just where the meat has come from.

Marks & Spencer, Co-op and Waitrose were the only supermarkets found to offer 100% British pork, bacon and gammon.  All other supermarkets were found to be stocking fresh and processed pork, bacon and gammon products from a wide range of different countries of origin including the UK, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Ireland.  More worryingly, some own-label and branded products were labelled with more than one country of origin such as ‘Germany and Holland’ or even as broadly labelled as just ‘EU’. All too often, packs had no clear indication of where the meat has actually come from. 

The results showed six percent bacon, gammon and pork packs had an unclear or confusing country of origin; five percent had mixed countries of origin on the same pack (eg. Germany/Holland) and 15 percent listed the ‘EU’ as the country of origin. 

NFU Scotland will be working with supermarkets going forward to encourage them to take the lead from Marks and Spencers, Waitrose and the Co-op when it comes to Country of Origin Labelling. It makes sense for a business to be transparent with its consumers and offer them the choice they deserve.

NFU Scotland’s Food Chain Policy Manager Lindsey Macdonald said: “The lack of transparency found on some products, particularly processed goods, is alarming and is indicative of how little care is shown to label meat that is considered anything other than ‘fresh meat’.

“It is a hard fact that the ‘last point of processing’ oval on meat packaging does not tell customers where their meat has actually come from.   NFUS is calling on supermarkets and brands to clearly label the origin of all their pork, bacon and gammon products in order to help their customers make informed decisions without having to find the small print somewhere on the back of a pack of bacon. It should never be a guessing game or an assumption to establish where your meat has come from. 

“The shelfwatch survey also showed that fake farm branding remains a huge problem and contributes to confusion. As an example, pig meat products bearing the ‘Woodside Farm’ brand at Tesco were, when examined, found to be from various countries around the EU and not one single source.

“Going forward, I intend to work closely with the supermarkets falling short to help establish better transparency for customers and to celebrate those leading the way on provenance. I will also be liaising with other bodies to establish whether any breaches in labelling have occurred.  In addition, NFUS continues to lobby for better Country of Origin Labelling following Brexit.”  


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