Supermarket retailer Morrisons has apologised after suffering backlash over a product that was advertised as being made from “non-EU salt and pepper”.

The item in question was the supermarket’s roast in the bag £4 Salt & Pepper Chicken Crown, which was also marketed as “British”.

Customer Lee Williscroft-Ferris tweeted a picture of the packing and wrote directly to the supermarket: “Tell me @Morrisons that this is not real. Your response will dictate whether or not I ever shop at your stores again.”

Many others reshared the image and vowed that they would boycott the supermarket chain over the label, which some perceived as being anti-EU.

Morrisons later responded to one of those tweets, describing the wording as “an error”. The chain also said they would be changing the packaging “immediately.”

However, the issue sparked a debate, with some saying they didn’t see a problem and didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

Jon Stone, Policy Correspondent at The Independent, provided an insightful thread as to why “non-EU salt and pepper” might be stipulated on the product.

Stone said: “The hysterical reaction to this is very funny – ‘non-EU’ is actually a stipulated wording in EU regulations for foods where there isn’t a single country of origin.

“But some people seem to think this chicken is some kind of anti-Brussels Brexit triumphalism,” he added.

He continued by noting how EU labelling regulations were switched into UK law after Brexit and retailers have until October 2022 to change references to “non-EU” to “non-UK.”

So why was the British flag included on the packaging? Stone says this is because the supermarket wanted to “make a virtue of the chicken being local” and therefore added the country of origin on the label.

But this also meant that they had to stipulate where the salt and pepper came from – and because they’re from different countries, “non-EU” is the “standard way to describe it,” Stone said.

Due to the big British flag, the salt and pepper origins also had to be displayed prominently too, so that customers are not misled.

If this is the case, then why did Morrisons apologise and promise to change their packaging?

Stone guessed this maybe because they “probably realised they didn’t have to use the wording to refer to salt and pepper:

Also, perhaps, because the customer is always right – meaning they’re willing to change their product if they think they might lose customers.

However, it’s not the first time supermarket food packaging has caused a heated Brexit debate.

Earlier this year, Sophia Collins tweeted her dismay at the Union Jack packaging for her butter she purchased from Morrisons.

“I don’t actually need my fridge to be a UKIP advert, thanks, Morrison’s,” she tweeted.

A Morrisons spokesperson told indy100: “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.’’

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