Morrisons has apologised after Remainers threatened to boycott the supermarket chain because they were offended by packaging on chicken that contained “non-EU salt and pepper”. A Twitter mob accused Morrisons of pandering to Brexiteers by advertising British chicken with non-EU condiments, but the supermarket was only obeying rules originally set by Brussels.
Contrast that with the BBC's take.
Their headline is Morrisons sorry for 'non-EU salt and pepper' chicken label and the anonymous BBC report begins:
Morrisons has backed down after customers complained about its labelling of a chicken meat product as containing "non-EU salt and pepper".The supermarket chain's salt-and-pepper chicken crown features the Union Flag on its label, which says that it is "made from British chicken".The label provoked an angry reaction on Twitter, including one accusation of stoking "anti-EU hatred".In response, the firm said the wording was "an error for which we apologise"."We are changing the packaging immediately," its tweet added.
I'm going to copy-and-paste both reports in full for posterity's sake, but I'll add a few points before doing so.
The Telegraph piece tells it how I see it. A few loud hardline Remainers kicked up the usual silly, out-of-proportion, removed-from-the-public-mood, factually-wrong fuss on Twitter and a frightened supermarket panicked and apologised.
The BBC tells it differently. According to the BBC it's ''customers'' who complained and made Morrison's ''back down''.
I very much doubt that those responsible for this pile-on against Morrison's were typical ''customers'' - if they were actually 'customers' at all.
So there's a clear difference of opinion between the Telegraph and the BBC:
The Telegraph blames the EU, saying the regulation about requiring the phrase ''non-EU'' is an EU regulation copied over into UK law after Brexit and still operative until at least October 2022.
The BBC blames the UK government, calling the use of ''non-EU'' 'government guidance' and uses language that obfuscates the contention that it's a leftover EU regulation.
This is a good test for accurate, impartial journalism.
Both of the reports are fascinating in their clear biases. The Telegraph piece has a pro-Leave bias, the BBC piece a pro-Remain bias.
Morrisons sorry for 'non-EU salt and pepper' chicken labelMorrisons has backed down after customers complained about its labelling of a chicken meat product as containing "non-EU salt and pepper".The supermarket chain's salt-and-pepper chicken crown features the Union Flag on its label, which says that it is "made from British chicken".The label provoked an angry reaction on Twitter, including one accusation of stoking "anti-EU hatred".In response, the firm said the wording was "an error for which we apologise"."We are changing the packaging immediately," its tweet added.A spokesman for Morrisons said: "It is adhering to packaging regulations rather than making any political point."The supermarket said it would change the packaging and de-emphasise the mention of non-EU salt and pepper, but said it would still have to be included somewhere on the wrapping because of packaging laws.According to government guidance on food labelling, the term "non-EU" must be used on meat packaging when full country information is unavailable.From October next year, following post-Brexit rule changes, this will be replaced by "non-UK".Country of originAmong the reactions from customers, some pointed out the irony of a soon-to-be US-owned supermarket displaying its British credentials.Last month, Morrisons shareholders approved a multi-billion pound takeover offer from US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).Others poked fun at the wording in other ways, with one person tweeting: "I've just had a look at my salt and pepper and it has no country of origin on it. It's from Aldi..."Does that mean it's non-EU or not? Is it safe to put it on an English chicken? Asking for Morrisons..."One customer raised the issue of food miles, saying: "In other words, they get their S&P from somewhere further away, creating more impact on the climate."Another queried how useful such information was for shoppers, tweeting: "Aside from anything else, I'd have thought most normal people want to know where foodstuff IS from, not where it isn't."The move comes in the midst of a debate in the food retailing industry about firms' increasing tendency to use patriotic imagery on packaging, with trade publication The Grocer identifying it as part of a post-Brexit "culture war".However, those who support the trend see the "made in the UK" tag as a sign of quality rather than a political statement.
Morrisons apologises to angry Remainers for 'anti-EU' chicken labelling
Supermarket responds to boycott threats over 'non-EU salt and pepper' label that complies with rules originally set by BrusselsByJames Crisp,EUROPE EDITOR
Morrisons has apologised after Remainers threatened to boycott the supermarket chain because they were offended by packaging on chicken that contained “non-EU salt and pepper”.A Twitter mob accused Morrisons of pandering to Brexiteers by advertising British chicken with non-EU condiments, but the supermarket was only obeying rules originally set by Brussels.“Why have Morrisons apologised for following rules originally imposed by the EU? They must have turned chicken,” said David Jones, the deputy chairman of the eurosceptic European Research Group.“And who are they apologising to? People who are such fans of the EU that they would prefer a supermarket to break the law?,” the Tory MP for Clwyd West said.The label reads “Salt and Pepper Chicken Crown. Roast in the bag. Made from British chicken and non-EU salt and pepper”.“Tell me Morrisons that this is not real. Your response will dictate whether or not I ever shop at your stores again,” said Lee Williscroft-Ferris, a writer, as the latest twist in the Brexit culture war gained traction on social media.“It’s annoying but necessary to boycott b******ery. Morrisons joins the list,” tweeted Chris Kendall, an EU official and host of the Cakewatch podcast.“US-owned Morrisons stokes anti-EU hatred,” tweeted “Kristina #FBPE”. “Won’t be going back until this is withdrawn and an apology is issued.”''Our chicken label is adhering to British packaging regulations, however we will be redesigning it to make it clear this is not a political commentary,'' a Morrisons spokesman said.The label of a Morrisons roast in the bag garlic and herb whole chicken states it is made from "British chicken and non-EU and EU garlic and herbs".Brussels rules require the “non-EU” label on packaging when products contain ingredients from more than a single country outside the bloc.Those regulations were copied into UK law when Brexit took legal effect on December 31. Suppliers have until October 2022 to change the label to non-UK instead.Because the label makes clear the chicken is British, one interpretation of the regulations is that the fact some of the ingredients are non-EU have to be as prominent.The non-EU label will still have to be retained but is likely to be de-emphasised in the redesigned package.It is not the first time that Morrisons has become embroiled in controversy over Brexit and food.In Christmas 2019, it caused a social media sensation after removing the word “Brussels” from bags of Brussels sprouts.Instead sprouts were sold as Lincolnshire or Yorkshire sprouts, depending where they were grown, much to the delight of some Brexiteers.Chicken has also played a prominent role elsewhere in the Brexit culture wars. Those opposed to a post-Brexit trade deal with the US have warned it could lead to British consumers having to eat US chlorinated chicken.