New Defra guidance on the labelling of products sourced from the West Bank has been hailed as a victory for consumer empowerment.

"Traders and retailers may wish to indicate whether the product originated from an Israeli settlement or from Palestinian producers," the guidance states. It suggests retailers consider using the following wording on-pack: 'Produce of the West Bank (Israeli settlement produce)' or 'Produce of the West Bank (Palestinian produce).'

Defra's guidance, issued last week, proved that shoppers who took action on food issues could bring about change, said author of Bad Food Britain and columnist for The Grocer, Joanna Blythman.

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which organises boycotts of Israeli goods, welcomed the clarification by Defra, but warned that as the guidance was not mandatory its impact would depend on supermarket backing. "We're going to be ensuring that supermarkets will be labelling goods accurately," said director of campaigns and operations, Sarah Colborne.

Sainsbury's and Waitrose have already confirmed that they would be following Defra's guidance.

Read more
Supermarkets told to be clear on West Bank food (11 December 2009)
Second Opinion: The crops stolen from Palestine (15 August 2009)