Scottish salmon labeling decision sparks debate

Scotland's decision to remove the word "farmed" from the front of local salmon labels has sparked much criticism from environmental organizations and citizens who fear it encourages greenwashing and deceives consumers.

A recent decision by Scotland’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) has sparked considerable controversy, worrying not only environmental organizations but also chefs and consumers. At the heart of the debate is salmon, a staple product of the nation. What has changed? The term “farmed” has been removed from the front of local fish labels.

This amendment, ratified in April, has been met with widespread dissent. There is a concern that it could encourage greenwashing practices and deceive consumers about the origin and production conditions of salmon.

Indeed, removing the “farmed” designation from the most visible part of the packaging could allow producers to present their product ambiguously, without clearly disclosing production practices and the environmental and ethical issues associated with intensive salmon farming. This can be seen as an example of greenwashing, where the product’s image is manipulated to appear more sustainable than it actually is.

The decision was justified by the fact that wild salmon is no longer marketed in supermarkets, hence it is obvious that it is farmed fish—a realization they claim is now widespread among consumers.

However, this argument does not hold up, as it is always important for any food product to ensure maximum transparency about its origin and production practices. Although the “farmed” description will still remain on the back of the packages, many believe that this change could create confusion and foster a distorted perception of reality.

As Rachel Mulrenan of WildFish, one of the organizations leading the legal battle against this decision, stated:

“As sustainability issues become increasingly important, this is a thinly veiled attempt by the Scottish salmon farming industry to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes, both in the United Kingdom and further afield. Now more than ever, people need to know the true origin of the products they buy and consume, in order to make informed decisions. This name change is a step in the wrong direction.”

It may also be worthwhile to recall how salmon are treated in farms. Organizations like WildFish and Animal Equality UK have conducted investigations into Scottish farms, highlighting issues such as widespread and constant infestations and deadly diseases.

These organizations have initiated legal actions against Defra’s decision, emphasizing the risk of misleading consumers and violating European regulations on the quality of agricultural and food products. As expected, the salmon industry has defended the decision, arguing that the change in nomenclature simply reflects the product’s established identity.

Source: Guardian

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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