The British consumer advocacy group, Which? has referred a number of incidents to UK food standards agencies with claims that food processors are acting “irresponsibly” over labelling guidance.
In an article in the latest Which? magazine the organisation claims, Although some words and phrases are regulated, many aren’t. And you can bet that manufacturers know just how far to go when they use words such as ‘pure’, ‘fresh’ and ‘natural’. What’s more, while they know the difference between ‘juice’ and ‘juice drink’ and ‘flavour’ and ‘flavoured’, they’re probably relying on the fact that you don’t.
Which? goes on to say that any labelling claims that may confuse consumers are worthless, and in many instances misleading.
However, Which? is not arguing for more labelling regulation.
“Which? doesn’t necessarily support the need for more regulation. This article was to highlight that certain industry players need to be more responsible. It’s really up to the industry to make sure they don’t mislead consumers,” Which? advocacy advisor Mette Kahlin is quoted in British media.
The organisation’s specific complaints of misleading labels and what they claim is abuse of Food Standards Agency guidance on labelling have been passed on to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).