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'Local' Food Labels Mislead English Consumers

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'Local' Food Labels Mislead English Consumers

Almost a fifth of all foods bearing a "local" label in England and Wales are misleading consumers, according to a recent study. Local Government Regulation inspectors examined 558 items throughout 300 shops, restaurants, markets and factories, the BBC reported, and found that 18 percent of the local claims were "undoubtedly false" and 14 percent were unverifiable.

Labels on products such as "Welsh lamb" were found to actually be from New Zealand. "Somerset butter" was from Scotland and "Devon ham" was from Denmark. Additionally, the LGR found that claims on ice cream marketed as being from local sources was actually produced from a well-known manufacturer and that "fresh local cream" was a in fact a cream substitute containing vegetable fat. "Yorkshire chillies" in sausages were supermarket bought and "West Country fish fillets" were fish that had been filleted in China, although the fish had in fact been caught in the West Country, the BBC reported. 

"Councils are working with businesses to make sure consumers have the information they need and that they are not being ripped off," said Councillor Paul Bettison, LGR chairman to the source.

"Many people want to support local businesses or choose food that has not traveled from the other side of the world, so it is vital that they have accurate information to help them make their choices," he added.