UK food chain Iceland has withdrawn its own-brand ‘50% white and wholemeal loaf’ after a trading standards complaint made by organisation the Real Bread Campaign.
“The law is clear on what you can and can’t name and market using the word wholemeal. It’s good to see Iceland’s move in line with this, though they could’ve just renamed the product,” said Chris Young, Coordinator, Real Bread Campaign.
Iceland is one of five companies to which the Campaign wrote in June 2022 about the naming and marketing of their ‘half and half’ products. It is continuing to follow up its complaint about Aldi, Jackson, Hovis and Warburtons with the trading standards teams at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, Buckinghamshire & Surrey County Councils, Hull City Council and London Borough of Waltham Forest.
The Campaign is continuing to lobby the government to review regulation of the words wholegrain and wholemeal as part of its wider Honest Crust Act work; which calls for greater transparency in labelling and commonly-used marketing terms to become legal definitions.
On 12 December 2022, Defra said, “We are still considering the best course of action to address this issue.”
“Evidently there’s an issue with the content, understanding and enforcement of current legislation, a full overhaul of which is long overdue,” added Chris Young.
The situation has been ongoing, as the Campaign asked to Defra for ‘greater clarity’ on half white loaf marketing. On 11 January 2023, the Campaign challenged Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards’ rejection of its complaint against Hovis for an apparent breach of the Bread and Flour regulations.
On 25 January, the Legal manager at Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards wrote:
“Having looked at the legislation I have come to the conclusion that it would help achieve greater clarity if we referred the matter to the central government department responsible for the legislation. As the product is not the only one of this type on the market we think it is important to have a definitive view from central government so that coordinated advice can be given.
“This service has contacted Defra with the relevant details and asked them for their opinion about how the Regulations would apply to products such as the one in question. Once we have received the opinion from Defra we will review our advice and contact you to inform you what the result is.”
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