14th March 2006
Tesco Rapped for ?Misleading? Packaging
Britain?s biggest supermarket has been censured by Trading Standards for using pictures on its own packaging that misleads customers. It follows a complaint by animal campaign group, Viva!, which claimed that the pictures of reeds and bulrushes on Tesco?s duck meat gave the impression that the birds were reared free-range, in the open air on ponds and lakes.
Viva! provided photographs and video footage of its investigations into Tesco?s supplier, Kerry Foods (AE Button & Sons), which showed that their ducks are housed in industrial sheds, 10,000 at a time, and have no access to outdoors and no water for swimming. The Food Standards Agency supported the complaint, agreeing that the store?s packaging was potentially misleading and could contravene Section 15 of the Food Safety Act 1990*. In a meeting between Trading Standards and Tesco, the store agreed to redesign the packaging remove the reeds and bulrushes.
?We are delighted that Tesco has been forced to back down over this outrageously misleading packaging,? says Justin Kerswell, Viva!?s senior campaigner. ?Of course, had it shown pictures of the real conditions in which its ducks live ? windowless sheds, filth, overcrowding, death, disease and no water in which to swim - it wouldn?t have sold a single bird. It?s bad enough that essentially wild animals are kept like this but to slap pictures on their corpses of places where they should have lived, is cynical in the extreme. We?ve killed the packaging and now we want to kill the awful practice of factory farming ducks.?
Viva!?s latest victory follows previous successes against Sainsbury?s, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Somerfield and Asda, who had all previously stopped selling meat from debeaked ducks. Harrods ended the sale of all factory-farmed duck meat. In 2004, Mark & Spencer withdrew all factory-farmed whole ducks after protest outside 200 of their stores ? a decision they have since revoked and which has been condemned by Viva!.
Nineteen million ducks are slaughtered in the UK each year ? almost all factory farmed. Lack of water prevents them from fulfilling their most fundamental needs, and as a result, they can suffer from dirty, dishevelled feathers, eye infections and even blindness. Undercover footage taken at Kerry Foods by Viva! has revealed distressing scenes of neglect and suffering.
?Whatever supermarkets put on their packaging, the fact remains that almost all ducks ? aquatic birds - are factory farmed and never fulfil one of their most basic needs ? to swim. That?s why we will continue with our campaign urging consumers to boycott all duck meat,? concludes Justin Kerswell.
For more information, contact: Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or on email@example.com
Notes to Editors
Click here to see a copy of the Tesco?s own label duck meat packaging (hi-res version available to download from the page).
* Section 15 of the Food Safety Act 1990, which states that: "Any person who gives with any food sold by him, or displays with any food offered etc...whether or not attached to or printed on the wrapper or container, which - (b) is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of the food shall be guilty of an offence."