for butchers who flout EU price rule
Butcher shops which fail to
comply with price display regulations will face prosecution by the Director of
Consumer Affairs, Carmel Foley.
A survey of 106 butcher shops
carried out by Ms Foley's inspectors in October found that only 40 per cent
complied with EU price regulations. However, a follow-up survey of
non-compliant shops in November and December found compliance had increased to
75 per cent.
The tradition in the butcher
trade was to sell meat by reference to the pound in weight. However EU law
requires that prices be shown in metric to facilitate comparisons, meaning
prices must be shown first in kilos. Ms Foley said butchers had been made aware
of this, and would face prosecution if they failed to adhere to the rule.
"A judge can fine a butcher
up to 3,000 per breach of this price regulation," she said. "Butchers can
continue to display the price in pounds, but this must be secondary to the kilo
Ms Foley's inspectors will
carry out another survey in the coming months. Associated Craft Butchers, which
represents 60 per cent of the butcher trade, said 75 per cent compliance with
the law was "quite high". "We are encouraging all our members to comply with
this regulation and show the price in kilos first," said Pat Brady, chief
executive of the organisation.
Mr Brady stressed however
that failure to display the prices correctly in butcher shops was different
from doing so in a supermarket. "The consumer in a butcher shop can ask about a
price - this is the critical difference," he said. By showing the price in
pounds, butchers were not deliberately misleading consumers; it was just
custom, he added. Ms Foley said consumers were entitled to see metric pricing
and she would be working with Associated Craft Butchers "on an education and
advice programme aimed at achieving full compliance".