TESTS CARRIED out by a laboratory in West Yorkshire found that over a third of samples it examined were improperly labelled.
Researchers looked at 900 samples across a range of food and found that some products were not close to what they claimed to be, including mozzarella which was only half real cheese and ham on pizza which was in fact poultry or meat emulsion.
Amy Leech, Soil Association senior policy officer commented: "This alarming story highlights two important flaws in our food chain – too little traceability and too much processed food. We’ve seen rising sales in local butchers and of organic as shoppers increasingly turn to food they can trust – early indications show positive growth in the organic market in 2013, with sales increasing after around four years of decline. Organic is a highly regulated food system. Any product sold as “organic” must comply with strict rules assuring consumers they are buying genuine products that can be fully traceable back to the farm.“
The news follows on from the scandal that hit the industry throughout 2013, in which horsemeat was found to be present in a number of products that producers claimed to be beef or pork.
This led to an investigation into the food supply chain which found endemic issued with false labelling of food. New legislation to tackle food fraud is expected to be announced following a full review.