A Crown Court hearing of a charge of applying a false A description under S.2, Trade Descriptions Act, 1968, is given in some detail under Legal Proceedings in this issue of BFJ. It concerns using the word “ham”, ie., the natural leg of a single pig, to various pieces from several pigs, deboned, defatted, “tumbled, massaged and cooked” in a mould shaped to a leg of ham, from which the average purchaser would find it impossible to distinguish. As the defence rightly claimed, this process has been used for at least a couple of decades, and the product forms a sizeable section of the bacon trade. Evidence by prosecution witnesses, experienced shop managers, believed the product to be the genuine “ham”. There is nothing detrimental about the meat, save that it tends to contain an excess of added water, but this applies to many meat products today; or that the manufacturers are setting out to cheat the consumer. What offends is the description given to the product. Manufacture was described in detail—a county trading standards officer inspected the process at the defendant company's Wiltshire factory, witness to the extent of their co‐operation—and was questioned at great length by defending counsel. Specimens of the product were exhibited and the jury were treated to a tasting test—presumably designed to refute prosecution's claim that the meat was of “poor value”. The trial judge said the jury had no doubt been enlightened as to the methods of manufacturing ham. The marketing of the product was also a subject of examination.
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