Misleading product labelling

What’s the problem?

Fruit yogurts with no fruit, high-sugar snacks marketed as fitness foods, miracle-health products with dangerous side effects: when it comes to packaged foods, misleading information is not the exception but the rule. Manufacturers use tricks to make their products look more appealing – because the competition is doing the same. What is worse, these tricks are absolutely legal, and no public authority can intervene. Food law tolerates many cases of misleading labelling – and consumers are left to fend for themselves.

What is the solution?

As long as misleading labelling is legal, companies will not change their ways. Therefore, these fraudulent practices must be prohibited. Self-invented seals of approval and voluntary commitments by industry will do nothing to help the situation. The only solution is to establish clear legal requirements for understandable product information. Legal loopholes must be closed, and companies must be required to provide the most important information on their packaging in understandable terms and formats. foodwatch has introduced a 15-point plan with necessary legal changes for making labels more honest.

What is foodwatch doing?

Whether it’s a French tortellini product with practically none of the promised parmesan, a Dutch “blueberry-raspberry” drink containing nearly 100% apple juice or a German organic baby tea with far too much sugar – foodwatch exposes how consumers are being purposefully and blatantly deceived by the sophisticated schemes of the food industry. We accomplish this through background analyses and market studies, as well as email campaigns that enable consumers to not only complain directly to the manufacturers but also demand action from policy-makers. In addition, foodwatch confronts food manufacturers and organises annual awards in Germany and the Netherlands for the most brazen advertising lie of the year: the “Goldener Windbeutel” and the “Gouden Windei”. 

Last update June 15, 2017