Processors under multiple pressure to get labels right

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Asda

Supermarkets are increasingly cutting back their trading standards teams and placing the burden of ensuring that own-label product information is...

Supermarkets are increasingly cutting back their trading standards teams and placing the burden of ensuring that own-label product information is accurate on manufacturers, a leading certification and inspection company has claimed.

David Edwards, director at CMi Consulting, said he had seen a dramatic increase in the number of trading standards-related enquiries from suppliers in recent months.

This was also driven by pressure on the industry to develop healthier products, which were supported by health claims on packaging, he added.

"Supermarkets are placing the burden of correctly labelling squarely on the shoulders of their suppliers, much as they did in the late 1980s with regard to food safety, " said Edwards. "Even large branded manufacturers are finding it difficult in the short term to respond effectively and we have seen a very significant uplift in trade inquiries asking for help."

His comments came as inquiries under the new Freedom of Information Act revealed that branded goods manufacturers as well as supermarkets were increasingly found to be in breach of labelling regulations, such as selling products containing less meat, fewer vitamins and more salt than indicated on the label.

Data collected from the home trading standards authorities for the supermarkets Tesco, Morrison and Asda show that 15 to 20 cases of suspected mis-labelling of own-label products every two months is now common.

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