15 March 2002

Freedom Food label mixup

A DEVON farmer and food labelling campaigner has challenged Tesco for selling chicken bearing the RSPCA Freedom Foods label which supplier Moy Park was not accredited to use.

Robert Persey, a Tesco shareholder and a member of the recently formed Westcountry Consumers for Honest Labelling, said the RSPCA should take action after the supermarket sold the chicken for six months without the authority to do so. "If they dont, the credibility of Freedom Foods will be gone," he said.

Northern Ireland-based Moy Park dismissed the six-months of wrong labelling as a "non-story". Its spokesman said: "As soon as this mistake was pointed out by the RSPCA, Moy Park put its hands up straight away and all the chicken concerned was cleared from Tescos shelves. All three parties recognise it was human error, not intent to defraud."

Tesco confirmed that the mistake occurred through a breakdown of communications within Moy Park. "We understand they were accredited for another product, hence the confusion. We had initially asked for assurance that they were accredited and were given it in writing," a spokeswoman said.

The RSPCA has refused to comment on what action if any it has or will take against Moy Park and Tesco for using their label. &#42