CANADA: Grocers mislabel foreign produce as local
A major western Canadian grocery chain has been selling produce advertised as "B.C. Grown" that came from the United States or elsewhere, CBC News has found.
Several examples were discovered in two Save-On-Foods locations in the Vancouver area, as well as at other stores.
"It's annoying, it's very annoying," said Linda Delli Santi, executive director of the B.C. Greenhouse Growers Association.
"I've heard of it many times. Unfortunately, we have no real control over what the retailer does with the product once it gets into their store."
Tomatoes, spinach, apples, red and orange peppers and cilantro were all marked as being from British Columbia on Save-On-Foods signs above the bins, while the fine print on stickers or twist ties revealed they were from the U.S., Mexico or Israel.
The chain, part of the Overwaitea Food Group, has more than 80 stores in B.C. and Alberta. The Save-On-Foods outlets that had incorrect signage are on Steveston Highway in Richmond and on Cambie Street in Vancouver.
"'Buy local' and 'support your local farmer' is definitely a trend," said Delli Santi. "They are cashing in on it … even if it is not intentional."
Although greenhouse products can be available many months of the year, most B.C. produce is not, she said: "We all know you can't grow potatoes here in January."