Thank you to the Real Bread Campaign for highlighting their essential work on consumer rights and food labelling.
Food labelling is not only about informing the public about the food we eat, but for people with allergies, it can mean the difference between life and death.
The tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, has led to the introduction of ‘Natasha’s Law’. I welcome these changes, but they do not extend to foods sold unwrapped, does not require food additives deemed to be ‘processing’ aids to appear on the label, and doesn’t touch misleading marketing terms.
The campaign for genuine food labelling and the end to misleading marketing continues.
I have recently asked the following question about false marketing:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that false marketing of fresh, wholegrain, artisan and sourdough bread will be prohibited by law in order to protect the customer and prevent SME Real Bread bakeries from being undercut by large manufacturers using such descriptors to market fundamentally different products.
In response the Minister stated:
Consumers are already protected from false and misleading marketing by both general consumer protection law and specifically by food information law. The rules on the provision of food information to consumers, taken together with requirements on the control of additives in food production, ensure that food is produced safely and labelled effectively in order for consumers to make informed choices on the food they buy and consume.
Bakers, including traditional and artisan bakers of high-quality bread, have the ability to effectively market their products on their own merits and legislation supports such marketing so long as it is not misleading. Any information provided with food, whether in words, pictures or symbols, must not be misleading to consumers.
Officials have had extensive discussions with the Real Bread Campaign over a number of years, have taken their views fully into account and will continue to do so.
After the flawed response from the Minister, I have written to her directly raising a number of additional questions: