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14 Nov, 2023 05:57

EU retail giant explains ‘mislabelling’ Israeli products

The escalation of the Gaza conflict has sparked calls to shun goods linked to the Jewish state
EU retail giant explains ‘mislabelling’ Israeli products

Lidl supermarkets have come under fire in France for allegedly trying to disguise the origin of products from Israel, local media reported over the weekend.

According to the reports, French netizens have spotted Lidl labeling Israeli avocados and pomegranates as being of African or even Spanish origin. A number of users posted photos featuring the products and their labels, both the original and those added by the store, on X (former Twitter) as proof of the misrepresentation, calling the situation “a scandal at Lidl.”

The item is supposed to come from Morocco according to its label, but after examining it, it turns out that the real origin is Israel,” wrote one user.

Same thing [happened to me] this morning at the Lidl in Vallauris – avocados from Morocco on the store label, and on the avocado, an Israeli label… I think there are plenty of stores doing this to sell their stocks,” another X user recounted. Similar discrepancies have also reportedly been sighted in Auchan and Carrefour stores.

Commenting on the reports, Schwarz Group, which owns Lidl stores, said that the supposedly intentional mislabeling was nothing more than “a display error, due to the fact that we regularly have avocados and pomegranates from different sources on the shelves.

While some alleged instances of mislabeling predated the Israel-Hamas conflict, their number reportedly surged when the hostilities began in early October and calls from pro-Palestinian activists to boycott Israel-linked goods became more frequent. Some users believe that these calls prompted the stores to intentionally misrepresent products of Israeli origin so that customers would continue to buy them.

In view of the recent events in the Middle East, we are dismayed by what is hap-pening [in our stores] and are observing the situation with great concern. Schwarz Group companies reject all forms of violence. Our thoughts are with the victims of the conflict,” the company’s press service told the news outlet.

According to the news outlet Actu Strasbourg, France’s Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) has been aware of the complaints and is currently investigating the situation.

These incidents were the subject of a small number of reports to our services, spread over several months. These, like any consumer report, are taken into account by DGCCRF investigators,” the organization told the news outlet.

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