18 October 1999
‘British is best’ claims outlawed

By Vicky Houchin

THE British Potato Council has warned supermarkets that it cannot be associated with any promotional campaigns which claim that British potatoes are best.

In a letter to leading retailers, the BPC said future campaigns could not claim directly or indirectly that British potatoes were better than European supplies.

The restrictions have been implemented under European rules which lay down strict guidelines about promoting European produce in member states.

References to British potatoes must be strictly factual and must not claim that being British confers any extra advantage, says Article 28 of the EC treaty.

The rules, which only apply to levy-funded organisations, carry serious penalties if breached and the BPC is keen not to lose levy-payers money in legal costs.

Although this is not a new European law, it is the first time the organisation has written to retailers informing them of the restrictions.

Only last February, Sainsburys was involved in a promotional campaign with the BPC which claimed that British potatoes could not be beaten.

A spokeswoman for the BPC said the organisation was theoretically required to promote all potatoes, despite being funded by British growers.