UK retailers accused of selling Norway salmon as Scottish

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 11, 2014

Protect Wild Scotland has filed complaints with Trading Standards and the Competition & Markets Authority regarding “systemic failures” in the marketing of “Scottish Salmon.”

The complaints relate to breaches in relation to “misleading actions” and “misleading omissions” as defined by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Fifteen complaints were formally filed earlier this month against supermarkets (Aldi, ASDA, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Tesco); the salmon farming sector (Grieg Seafood Hjaltland, Loch Duart and Loch Duart Artisan Smokehouse, Scottish Salmon Company, Scottish Sea Farms, Scottish Salmon Producers Organization, Wester Ross Fisheries); and companies smoking and processing farmed salmon (Forman & Son, John Ross Jr, Edinburgh Salmon Company, St. James Smokehouse). Complaints were filed with the following Trading Standards agencies in the UK: City of Westminster, Tower Hamlets, West Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Hertfordshire, Highland, Western Isles, Aberdeen, Shetland, Dumfries & Galloway, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and Edinburgh.

“Our complaints detail systematic consumer fraud and misleading advertising of farmed salmon products sold and marketed in the UK and internationally via online sales and marketing as well as in-store sales,” Jenny Scobie, chair of Protect Wild Scotland, said in a letter to the Competition & Markets Authority. “Consumer choice in the salmon market is being systematically eroded by deliberately deceptive marketing and misleading labeling which hides the fact that the vast majority of salmon is farmed not wild. Referring to the product as merely “Scottish salmon” robs the consumer of the ability to make an informed choice to purchase wild or farmed salmon.”

“Foreign-owned corporations are exploiting the world renowned and prized image of Scottish salmon — an iconic image of Scotland — to obtain a price premium,” Scobie said. “The hijacking of the name ‘Scottish salmon’ to refer to salmon imported as eggs and/or smolts from outside the U.K. and on-grown by a predominantly foreign-owned industry is product piracy and plagiarism (over 80 percent of the ‘Scottish’ salmon farming industry is now foreign owned with 66 percent controlled by Norwegian-owned companies).”

The complaints to Trading Standards include:
•    Scottish Salmon Company marketed themselves as purveyors of “authentically Scottish salmon” despite being registered in Jersey, owned by a Swiss bank with Ukrainian and Norwegian investors, floated on the Oslo Stock Exchange in Norway, and used imported Norwegian genetic material for their farmed salmon
•    St. James Smokehouse marketed their salmon as “natural” and the “finest quality salmon from the nearby clear, fast-flowing waters of Western Scotland” yet source exclusively from salmon farms with the recent claim via a lawsuit in the United States that they also source salmon from farms in Chile and Norway
•    Grieg Seafood Hjaltland marketed “superior quality Scottish salmon” via the WildWaters brand with the advertising slogan “from the wild waters of Shetland” yet all their salmon is farmed not wild
•    Forman & Son promoted “genuine wild smoked Scottish salmon” yet fail to inform customers that most of their products are fake farmed salmon
•    Aldi promotes “Best of Scotland” salmon with an image of a fishing boat when it is farmed in Norway and the Faroe Islands
•    Morrisons promoted “Catch of Day” salmon which is sourced from farms in Norway and “Scottish Quality” salmon which is farmed in Norway and only smoked in Scotland
•    John Ross Jr. marketed “fresh Scottish salmon,” which is advertised as “the world’s best salmon” yet do not provide consumers with the information that it is farmed not wild salmon
•    Marks & Spencer marketed Lochmuir salmon but fail to inform customers that Lochmuir is a fictional name and the salmon is farmed by Norwegian-owned Scottish Sea Farms using imported genetic material from Norway
•    Norwegian-owned company Scottish Sea Farms marketed “Scottish Salmon” and “Scottish Superior” farmed salmon using images of the ‘King of Fish’ and using imported Norwegian genetic material
•    Wester Ross Fisheries marketed its fake farmed salmon as “Real Scottish Salmon” without informing customers it is fed artificial colorings and unnatural feed, doused in toxic chemicals and infested with sea lice parasites
•    Loch Duart and Loch Duart Artisan Smokehouse markets “Scottish salmon” and “premium smoked salmon” without reference to the fact that it is farmed or recent cases of listeria contamination and sea lice infestation
•    Tesco clearly labeled wild salmon but fail to label their farmed salmon which some stores promote as “100 percent Scottish Salmon” despite being sourced predominantly from Norway

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