Rick Stein's shop changes description of smoked salmon after complaint

By Adam Durbin
BBC News Online

Published
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image captionRick Stein's online shop changed the description of its smoked salmon to clarify it was farmed

Chef Rick Stein's online shop was asked to make it clear its smoked salmon was farmed after a complaint.

Anti-salmon farming campaigner Don Staniford contacted the firm and Cornwall Council over the description, which referenced salmon rivers near a Gloucestershire smokehouse.

He called on retailers to be more "honest" in their advertising.

A spokeswoman for the company explained it "did not in any way attempt to mislead consumers".

She said the description had been taken from their supplier, Severn and Wye Smokery in Gloucestershire, which had been changed online and on packaging "without hesitation" after receiving a complaint and before being contacted by the council's Trading Standards team.

Before amendment it read: "Severn & Wye Smokery is situated on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean between two of England's most celebrated salmon rivers.

"It is there that they practice the old-fashioned art of smoking only the highest quality fish and meat."

Following the amendment, the description of the product no longer mentions the rivers and says the fish are "sourced from two boutique salmon farms" in the Faroe Islands.

'100% farmed product'

Wild salmon is no longer fished commercially anywhere in the UK.

Scottish Salmon Watch director Don Staniford argued the original description was "misleading" and confirmed he had complained to Cornwall Council and Mr Stein's company.

He said retailers must be more "honest" and clear in their labelling of farmed fish products.

image captionDirector of Scottish Salmon Watch Don Staniford called on retailers to be more "honest" over the origins of their salmon products

Mr Staniford said: "They were implying that these were wild salmon caught in these English rivers."

He said thanks to the alteration people were "more knowledgeable about what goes on with smoked salmon".

"This is 100% a farmed salmon product," he added.

'Clearly explained'

Mr Stein's company explained it had used its supplier's description on their website and packaging as "we thought it a good and accurate description".

A spokeswoman said it had changed the wording based on a complaint to "clearly reflect the source of the farmed salmon", before contact was made by Cornwall Council.

She said: "However, a couple of weeks ago it was suggested by a customer that saying that the fish was being smoked in an area near the Severn and Wye rivers could also imply that it came from the rivers.

"I absolutely agree that some people may not be in favour of farmed salmon and so without hesitation we changed the wording to give a better understanding."

image captionA spokeswoman for the company said it "did not in any way attempt to mislead consumers"

Richard Cook, from Severn & Wye Smokery, explained the original description came from the location of their business between the Severn and Wye rivers.

He said: "Which historically were two very important wild salmon rivers and as a result of this fishery Severn & Wye Smokery was born."

Cornwall Council confirmed a complaint had come in on Twitter.

A spokesperson said: "Although the salmon is sourced from a number of locations, it is smoked on the premises as stated on the website and this is now more clearly explained."

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