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Scottish honey first to be verified with a Kitemark as scheme launched to tackle food fraud

© Scottish Bee Company/PA WireScottish Bee Company's heather honey with the new BSI Kitemark for Food Assurance
Scottish Bee Company's heather honey with the new BSI Kitemark for Food Assurance

Foods will be verified with a Kitemark for the first time to tackle food fraud and rebuild consumer confidence, it has been announced.

Business improvement company BSI said its Kitemark scheme would verify food product label claims on issues such as where it was from and how it is produced, to curb food fraud that costs the industry up to £12 billion a year.

The first product to be certified with the BSI Kitemark for Food Assurance is the Scottish Bee Company’s heather honey.

Honey is identified by Interpol as one of the most adulterated and fraudulent food products, BSI said.

The Kitemark Food Assurance Programme aims to be flexible so that it can independently verify a range of claims made to consumers including authenticity, purity, provenance, welfare and environmental commitments.

This means it can verify claims made to consumers such as if the honey comes from Scotland and is made from heather, or if beef is produced from herds without hormone treatments that are only grass fed.

BSI said its Kitemark was recognised by 80% of the UK public, ensuring quality performance and safety for products ranging from electrical plugs to double glazing.

Food products will be tested to check out claims such as composition or purity and site inspections will also be used to verify what companies are saying about the food they are producing.

Products will carry a readable QR code or number on their packaging, which allows consumers to check out the verification by BSI.

Howard Kerr, chief executive at BSI said: “Today, people want to understand the important details about the food they eat.

“By extending the power of the Kitemark into areas like food authenticity and provenance, BSI can serve that need.

“After all, customers deserve food that’s safe, sustainable and socially responsible.”