Image courtesy of Europa Azul / FIS
The fishing sector alerts the government about fraud in the labeling of so-called vegetable or laboratory fish
Thursday, September 21, 2023, 07:00 (GMT + 9)
Requests the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to urgently review and withdraw these products of plant origin that do not provide the nutrients, minerals and benefits of fish products and whose marketing is misleading and confuses consumers.
The fishing sector, represented by the Spanish Fishing Confederation (CEPESCA), the National Federation of Fishermen's Guilds (FNCP), the Aquaculture Business Association of Spain (APROMAR) and ANFACO-CECOPESCA, has addressed a new letter to Bibiana Medialdea, General Director of Consumer Affairs, warning about the presence in the market of products of plant origin that, with confusing labeling and presentation, attempt to be assimilated to fish products to encourage their consumption, “when they are neither fish nor do they provide the nutrients, minerals and benefits of “fishery products.”
Source: Sea So Good
In both letters, the most recent sent on September 6, the most representative national organizations of the fishing and aquaculture sector, which have been joined by the Spanish Association of Wholesalers, Importers, Exporters and Processors of Fishing Products and Aquaculture (Conxemar), request the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to carry out, with the greatest urgency, the necessary steps to proceed with the review and subsequent withdrawal of this type of fraudulent products, which seek to deceive the consumer.
Source: Cepesca. -->
According to the latest letter addressed to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, in addition to failing to comply with various European and national regulations regarding unfair competition practices, labeling, presentation and advertising of food products, and food safety and nutrition, these products of plant origin "clearly confuse the consumer since, by using these names, they make them believe that by eating them they can obtain the same nutritional benefits that are achieved with fish products."
The sector's writings are based on two specific examples: hake and canned tuna, and include comparative nutritional tables with the nutrients of the vegan product called "MERLVZA", from the company HEURA FOODS, and the authentic HAKE, as well as the "Natural vegan TUNA" from the SEA SO GOOD brand, along with that of natural tuna. These tables, whose source refers to the MAP and its Guide to the Nutritional Qualities of Products from Extractive Fishing and Aquaculture: Binomial Risk-Benefit, they make clear and evident the nutritional benefits that come from eating real fish and that are not obtained with products of plant origin, which, in the opinion of the sector, represents fraud and deception for the consumer. .
<-- Source: Cepesca.
As the sector explains in its writing, “we mention these examples, but we know that there are more products of plant origin sold by other companies that, taking advantage of the growing trend of vegan trends among the population, occupy a market niche, confusing the consumer".
The marketing of these products – as the sector recalls in its writings – fails to comply with two regulations in the field of competition: Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 11, 2005, relating to unfair commercial practices of companies, in its articles 5 and 6. And LAW 3/1991, of January 10, on Unfair Competition. Article 5 of this law considers “unfair because it is misleading any conduct that contains false information or information that, even if true, due to its content or presentation misleads or may mislead the recipients.”
Likewise, it also fails to comply withLaw 17/2011, of July 5, on Food Safety and Nutrition, and with Royal Decree 1334/1999, of July 31, which approves the General Standard for Labeling, Presentation and Advertising of Food Products, which in its article 4 on the general principles, establishes that: “The labeling and the methods of carrying it out must not be of such a nature as to mislead the buyer, especially regarding the characteristics of the food product and, in particular, on its nature, identity, qualities, composition, quantity, duration, origin or provenance and method of manufacture or obtaining.”
Fuente: CEPESCA (Traslated from the original in Spanish)