Fruit trade body English Apples & Pears is calling on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to introduce stricter labelling rules so that consumers know they are buying British produce.
The trade body is spending &£500,000 on a joint campaign with supermarkets to promote English apples between now and April. Apple producers are helping to fund the campaign.
The campaign features a Union Jack sticker which will appear on apples, alongside other in-store promotions. The campaign comes as the FSA prepares to discuss labelling issues at a board meeting on September 21.
English Apples & Pears chief executive Adrian Barlow is calling on the European Union and FSA to draw up rules to ensure foreign apple growers label their produce before shipping it to the UK.
No such law currently exists and Barlow claims this makes it difficult to identify English apples in supermarkets.
He says: “An overwhelming majority of consumers want to buy English apples, according to our research [through Taylor Nelson Sofres].
“It’s realistic to say some exporters wouldn’t highlight the fact their apples aren’t English because, for example, Cox’s apples grown abroad don’t taste anything like English-grown Cox’s.
“It would be helpful if it was mandatory for producers to label apples with their country of origin. The responsibility has ultimately got to be with the FSA and the EU.”
An FSA spokesman declined to comment.