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Sainsbury's happy with produce from illegally occupied territories

August 11, 2002


Questions raised by a BIG campaigner Sainsbury's recent AGM, have received a written response from Stuart Mitchell, Assistant Managing Director of the supermarket giant:

"As for the labeling of products from the Middle East, new Government guidelines from DEFRA will soon be in use. Products will be labeled more specifically, ie. 'produce of Israel' or 'produce of Gaza'. However, this will not come into practice until the winter months, during their season."

Diane Langford commented: "This is not what Mr Mitchell told me at the AGM. In a private conversation he assured me that Sainsbury's did not buy any produce from the colonies in the Occupied Territories. Therefore Sainsbury's were not bothered about the directive but would obey the whatever guidelines the government came up with."

Despite DEFRA's directive, the problem has not gone away. Customers may even be misled into believing that buying goods labeled "Made in Gaza/the West Bank/or Golan Heights" would help the Palestinian economy when in fact such purchases will boost the illegal, colonial settlements. Products from the colonial "settlements" should be labeled as "Produce of Illegally Occupied Territories" or, even better, not allowed into the European Union region at all.

Stuart Mitchell also responded to a complaint that multi-packs of peppers contained produce from Israel/Holland/Spain and the UK mixed up together in one bag. He wrote: "It appears that during the winter months in the multipacks of peppers (the traffic light bag) the contents may well come from different countries. Usually the red and yellow peppers come from Israel and the green from Spain.

"English peppers and Israeli peppers are never in the same multi-pack as they are from different growing seasons."

While the supermarkets claim to offer consumer choice, the practice of mixing produce together mirrors what the Israelis themselves do - mixing settlement and produce from inside the 'green line' together - so there is no choice but to boycott ALL produce labeled "Made in Israel", "Made in Gaza" (and, of course, the West Bank and Golan Heights).

The BIG Campaign for Palestine calls for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreeement and all other trade arrangements with Israel, including the notoriously bloody arms trade (see PSC website: and the Britech Agreement under which British and Israeli companies receive millions of pounds from both governments to foster joint hi-tech projects.

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