UK shoppers at risk of a Great British Fake Off?
Today, the Real Bread Campaign renewed its demand for an Honest Crust Act to protect shoppers from the risk of being misled when they buy a loaf, one of the most important staple foods in the British diet.
The call comes in response to the publication yesterday (12 June) of the government’s draft guidance to the new Food Information Regulations 2014.
Campaign coordinator Chris Young said: “We believe that the government has missed a golden opportunity to improve customer protection. Shoppers have the right to make fully-informed choices about the loaves they buy, but despite DEFRA giving the food labelling rule book a full overhaul, what we see as gaping loopholes have been left open. At least we have the small victory that bread manufacturers must at last declare on loaf labels the token nutrients added to most flour.”
The Real Bread Campaign’s key concerns around loaf labelling and marketing are that the new rules will mean that:
- Industrial loaves can still be sold without a declaration of any so-called ‘processing aids’ used in their manufacture, even if they or their residues remain in the baked loaf
- Previously frozen in-store ‘bakery’, and other, bake-off loaves can still be marketed with the claims that they are ‘fresh’ or ‘freshly baked’
- Unwrapped supermarket loaves can still be sold without any label or written notice of their ingredients and without declaring any artificial additives used
One effect of this information being withheld from shoppers is the risk that they mistakenly make like-for-like comparisons between such loaves and Real Bread from local bakeries, unaware of these important differences.
Chris Young added, “Surely the government could have gone a lot further than the basic EU requirements to protect not only shoppers, but also the small, local, independent Real Bread bakeries that are helping to revive our high streets and providing more skilled craft baking jobs per loaf.”
An Honest Crust Act
To protect the rights of shoppers to be able to make fully-informed choices, the Real Bread Campaign calls for an Honest Crust Act that will require:
- All bakers and retailers to print full lists of ingredients (plus any processing aids or other artificial additives used) for all loaves on their wrappers. In the case of unwrapped loaves, this information can be displayed at the point of sale instead - eg using shelf labelling.
- Meaningful, legal definitions for the terms 'fresh' and 'freshly baked' when used in the marketing of loaves - not to be used for 'bake-off' products.
- Meaningful, legal definitions for the words (and related terms) 'sourdough', 'artisan', 'wholegrain' and 'craft', to protect these valuable meanings from misuse.
- Section six of the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 to be tightened and fully enforced to ensure the likes of dried gluten and soya flour do not make their way into loaves sold as ‘wholemeal’.
- A ban on below-cost selling (other than to reduce the discarding of short-date items) of loaves by multiple retailers, a practice we believe leads to an artificial misperception of the baseline price of this 'Known Value Item'.
In the meantime, the Campaign calls upon all bakers and retailers to adopt these policies and practices voluntarily.
For more information please contact Chris Young: chris [at] sustainweb.org or 0203 5596 777
www.realbreadcampaign.org twitter.com/realbread facebook.com/realbreadcampaign
A few more crumbs...
The Real Bread Campaign is part of the food and farming charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. Its mission is to find and share ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet.
As such, the Campaign relies upon supporter fees and public donations to continue its work leading the rise of Real Bread in Britain.
Real Bread Campaign is open to everyone – you don’t have to be a baker to join us! The Campaign’s mutually-supportive network helps bring together bakers and everyone else who loves the real thing, and questions what hidden costs might lie behind industrial alternatives. Originally aimed at the breadheads of Britain, since 2009 the Campaign has attracted more than 2000 paying supporters in over 20 countries.
Other Real Bread Campaign initiatives include:
- Rising Up: our report on the therapeutic, social and employment opportunities Real Bread making offers to people living with mental health issues and facing a range of other challenges: http://bit.ly/1hODaG6
- Together We Rise: the project based on the recommendations of Rising Up to help thousands of people to benefit: http://bit.ly/NVGPoi
- Knead to Know: the Real Bread starter To date, more than 2000 people have benefitted from the Campaign’s guide to setting up a successful Community Supported Bakery or home-based microbakery, which is now published by Grub Street: http://bit.ly/1fftqUu
- The Real Bread Finder is the only online directory dedicated to helping people find where to buy Real Bread locally in now used by around 650 bakeries. Free for bakers to add, and people to seek, local places to buy Real Bread: http://bit.ly/1k1JV5Q
- The Real Bread Loaf Mark is helping more than 120 bakers to give, and countless shoppers to get, an at-a-glance assurance that: ‘this is Real Bread!’ http://bit.ly/1kCuiAd
Published 13 Jun 2014
Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.
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