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Scamon Scotland claimed Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco had displayed false claims over fish farming

Campaign group Scamon Scotland has filed a complaint to the Competition & Markets Authority over the “deceptive” marketing of ‘responsibly farmed’ Scottish and Norwegian salmon by supermarkets.

Scamon Scotland claimed Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco had displayed false claims over fish farming.

The complaint to the CMA includes a dossier of photograph and video evidence of the accused false claims from the major mults, including use of the words “responsibly sourced”, “responsibly farmed” and “farmed responsibly”.

Scamon Scotland points to multiple incidents of poor practice and abuse within the salmon supply chain, which the campaign group says makes claims of responsible sourcing “deceptive”.

The campaign group is calling on consumers to publicly expose “illegal labelling, deceptive marketing and false advertising of ‘responsibly sourced’ Scottish salmon in supermarkets, restaurants and online retailers”.

It is asking consumers to take photos and video evidence of salmon misinformation.

The complaint comes amid a period of increased scrutiny by the CMA into green claims across the fmcg sector, following the launch of a probe by the regulator in January 2023

Meanwhile, Defra announced earlier this month it had approved a change to the product specification for Scottish farmed salmon’s protected geographical indication. The amendment will change the PGI’s name from ‘Scottish farmed salmon’ to ‘Scottish salmon’, and was sought to better reflect consumer understanding that Atlantic salmon sold in the UK is farmed, not wild.

Industry body Salmon Scotland (no relation to campaign group Scamon Scotland) said the move represented a win for preventing food fraud, as it would stop inferior salmon products with lower environmental and food safety standards from being sold as ‘Scottish salmon’.

“Farm-raised Scottish salmon is a globally recognised brand and rightly considered the best in the world, so it is vital that we take steps to protect our premium product from food fraud,” said Tavish Scott, CEO of Salmon Scotland.

“When consumers talk about ‘Scottish salmon’, they are talking about farm-raised Atlantic salmon from Scotland – and this change makes that clear,” he added.

However, campaigners have argued it is “misleading” to customers and “deeply troubling”.

“Salmon farming is a welfare nightmare and environmental pariah,” said Don Staniford, director of Scamon Scotland. “Trading Standards around the UK need to close the net on salmon scammers.”

“Retailers are committed to sourcing salmon responsibly, working closely with stakeholders and suppliers to ensure products meet customer expectations on sustainability,” said a spokesman for the Scottish Retail Consortium.

All retailers mentioned were approached for comment.