27 July 2001

Misleading labels pledge

THE Food Standards Agency has pledged to take action on misleading labelling after being advised that tighter enforcement of food labelling laws is needed.

A new report has concluded that consumers are being misled by descriptions on food labels like "country style" and terms such as "fresh", "traditional" and "homemade". The two-year study, produced by the Food Advisory Committee, found 75% of consumers find terms such as fresh, natural and pure misleading.

The agency plans to use the report to start consultation next week on new standards for the food industry. The report does not touch on the issue of country of origin – a key concern of the farming industry. But an agency spokesman confirmed it was an area it was looking at.

MPs are also taking up the challenge, backing a Private Members Bill calling for better information about country of origin. The Bill, which has been put forward by Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar will have its second reading on Fri, Nov 2. &#42