Suffolk pubs warned over 'false food' claims

By Graham Ridout

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Suffolk

Trading Standards investigated pub dishes
Trading Standards investigated pub dishes
One in six pubs, restaurants and shops in Suffolk have been accused of "cheating" customers by making false claims about food being "organic",...

One in six pubs, restaurants and shops in Suffolk have been accused of "cheating" customers by making false claims about food being "organic", "hand-made" or "fresh".

The swoop by Suffolk Trading Standards on 180 restaurants, pubs, farm shops and delicatessens discovered 30 were "fraudulently" charging customers more for the mislabeled food.

Investigators found cases where produce was described as "hand-made" although the food was frozen and supplied by national wholesalers.

Another deception was lying about the ingredients included in a dish to command a higher price by making it appear more exotic.

One example was boasting that the dish included sun-dried tomato paste, when tomato puree had actually been used.

Roger Mortlock, deputy director of the Soil Association, said: "Consumers buying organic food off the shelves in shops and supermarkets can be reasonably sure that it is fairly

labeled, but restaurants and pubs are the places where we seem many of the real abuses of public trust.

"In many cases, food is described as being fresh when, in fact, it has been heated up in a microwave in the pub kitchen.

"If they are also claiming that food is organic when it's not, then that is shocking because the public should be able to trust the food that they are buying."

Offenders can face six months in jail or a £5,000 fine, if found guilty of mislabeling food.

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