INTENSIVELY farmed Norwegian fish are being sold as wild Scottish salmon, according to campaigners who have called in the competition authority over what they claim are “systemic failures” in the industry.
Protect Wild Scotland has complained to the Competition and Markets Authority claiming misleading labelling by several supermarkets.
The group has also filed complaints with Trading Standards regarding “systemic failures in the marketing of Scottish salmon”.
Aldi last night confirmed that it would remove the “Best of Scotland” branding from any Norwegian salmon “for the avoidance of any further confusion”.
In April, Tesco was forced to scrap a marketing campaign after it emerged that “100 per cent Scottish” salmon came from Norway.
A total of 15 complaints have been made about alleged breaches in relation to what the group say are “misleading actions” and “misleading omissions”, as defined by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Protect Wild Scotland claims some products being sold are advertised as “wild salmon” when they are actually farmed.
Other products labelled “Scottish” are actually Norwegian or Faroese, they claim.
Jenny Scobie, chair of Protect Wild Salmon, states in the letter: “Our complaints detail systematic consumer fraud and misleading advertising of farmed salmon products sold and marketed in the UK and internationally.
“Consumer choice in the salmon market is being systematically eroded by deliberately deceptive marketing and misleading labelling which hides the fact that the vast majority of salmon is farmed, not wild.
“Referring to the product as merely ‘Scottish salmon’ robs the consumer of the ability to make an informed choice to purchase wild or farmed salmon.
“Foreign-owned corporations are exploiting the world-renowned and prized image of Scottish salmon – an iconic image of Scotland – to obtain a price premium.”
For the past decade there have been laws in place to ensure retailers label fish products as “wild” or “farmed”.
However, a new EU law extending mandatory labelling for wild and farmed fish products will come into force in December.
Scobie added: “The distinction between wild and farmed salmon clearly falls in line with how the EU’s Protected Geographical Indication status distinguishes between ‘Scottish farmed salmon’ and ‘Scottish wild salmon’. These labelling requirements reflect an EU policy of ensuring that consumers are provided with the necessary information to make informed choices about the products they purchase.”
A spokeswoman for Aldi supermarkets said: “For the avoidance of any further confusion, we will be removing the ‘Best of Scotland’ in-store branding located next to the product in question.”