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Which? warns against decriminalisation of food labelling offences

Which? warns against decriminalisation of food labelling offences

The consumer watchdog Which? has once again warned against proposals to decriminalise food labeling violations.

The organisation said that the issue of correctly informing consumers had become all the more important in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

According to its own research, 79 per cent of consumers check food labels for ingredients and meat content, and the watchdog argues that proposals to decriminalise the act of providing misleading information in England, Northern Ireland and Wales would therefore not be in the best interests of customers.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: "It’s important that people know what they’re getting so they can make an informed choice. In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, we want the government to think again over their plans to decriminalise food labeling offences to help restore trust in the food industry."

Other findings included in its report included the fact that own-brand supermarket sausages could prove to be better value in terms of meat content.

Which? compared Richmond thick sausages to Sainsbury's Basics pork sausages, and found that although both products contained the same amount of pork (42 per cent), the own-brand range was around three-times cheaper at 80p.

It also found that by paying 59p more than the £2.40 charged for Richmond, consumers could enjoy Sainsbury's own premium choice range, which offer nearly twice as much meat (97 per cent).

Not only were there differences in meat content, but the study also found that cheaper products might not necessarily be the best value for money.

It found that while Asda's Butcher's Selection Pork Sausages range cost 23p more per kg than the supermarket's value range, it had a meat content of 72 per cent, compared with the latter's 56 per cent.

The findings were not just limited to sausages, as the research also suggested that Birds Eye Original beef burgers only contained 77 per cent meat, despite being priced at £8.30 per kg, yet Tesco's own quarter pounder beef burgers had a beef content of 90 per cent and also came in at £6.12 per kg.


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