Morrisons chicken sparks backlash

2 November 2021

A picture of a roast-in-the-bag chicken from Morrisons has gone viral on Twitter.

The packaging states the product is “made from British chicken and non-EU salt and pepper” which has prompted anger from some Twitter users, with some describing the wording as a “gratuitous slight on the EU”.

Morrisons publicly said the packaging was labelled mistakenly and apologised for the error.

But Morrisons says the reason for labelling it as such in the first place was an attempt to comply with EU (and now UK) law, rather than make a geopolitical point.   

The company told Full Fact: “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.”

Regulations originating in the EU, which still apply in the UK, say that the country of origin for a “primary ingredient” must be given if it differs from the stated country of origin. “Non-EU” is a normal label used especially when the precise country of origin is unknown

If “salt and pepper” were viewed as primary ingredients (which doesn’t have a particularly clear definition) and their origin differed from the chicken in question, it would need to be labelled accordingly. 

The UK law has been amended to require qualifying products to be labelled as “non-UK” rather than “non-EU” but this won’t come into force until October 2022. EU labelling rules will continue to be used in Northern Ireland. 

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.