UPDATE #1 (June 4, 2013) You will recall my colleague from London that I mention in my original post. Well, he did some more sleuthing. He contacted an importer and queried him on labeling practice. Here’s the scoop:
The Labels: I was wrong. These labels aren’t developed by the importers, they are actually designed and ordered by the retailer. In this case, Tesco. So, rather than there being a lack of consistency in labeling protocols on the part of importers (as I suggested), labeling protocols appear to be differentiated across retailers – even those within the same chain of retailers (Tesco). The whole process appears to be quite subjective.
GMO label info: My colleague challenged the importer on the blatantly inaccurate information on the label. The importer’s response? “GM Wheat is being sold in the US.” And, after my colleague corrected him on this, he said: “Well, there is GM wheat growing in Oregon.” Yes, we know that. But a photo of the inaccurate label was circulating on social media (Pinterest) BEFORE the Oregon issue presented itself. Hmmm…
The importer said that they are currently awaiting follow-up information from Kraft. Local trading Standards officers are also seeking clarification. I guess we will wait to see what happens.
I will update this post as information arises. I think that there is one thing that we can all agree on: Ensuring standardization and efficacy of labeling regimes are good for the retailer, the importer, the food company and – most of all – the consumer.
UPDATE # 2 (June 4,2013) CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: Is there a black market in KD? In this report by MSN News, Lynne Galia, a spokesperson for Kraft Foods, made a statement yesterday (June 3) “…we don’t export Mac & Cheese to the UK and have no authorized distributor there…The company that has applied this sticker is not authorized by Kraft to sell our products. They are not a customer of Kraft. They are getting the product from someone else and reselling our product in the UK…” Kraft continues their investigations.
Hmmm. The whole labeling ‘thing’ may be just secondary fall-out to these illegal shenanigans.
UPDATE #3 (June 5, 2013): It appears that Food Babe got some publicity in the NY Times on this which won’t hurt her anti-Kraft campaign any. Also, we now know the name of the ‘mystery’ shopper that brought that original label to light: Flo Wrightson Cross, a student in north London. Flo loves KD too! ;o)