A Grocery Supply Code of Practice ,which comes into force today must be properly enforced by an ombudsman to stop the bullying tactics of supermarkets towards suppliers, says Friends of Earth.
The code of practice is designed to promote fairer dealing between supermarkets and their suppliers, and prohibit the biggest food retailers from unfair buying practices, such as retrospectively changing terms of trade.
But the green campaigning charity said that without a tough enforcement body to monitor and ensure compliance by the major retailers, the code of practice will fail to protect farmers and other suppliers.
The Government begins a 12-week consultation tomorrow To determine how an ombudsman will operate.
Friends of the Earth’s food campaigner Helen Rimmer said: “The new code of practice is a welcome step – it has the potential to stop supermarkets from abusing farmers, suppliers and ultimately consumers.
“But without a tough watchdog to police it, the new code will fail just like the previous one.
“The Government must urgently establish an independent watchdog that can investigate the supply chain, guarantee farmers’ anonymity and impose fines on supermarkets that are breaching the code.
“Proper enforcement of the code will ensure a fairer deal for farmers, workers, and shoppers alike – both in the UK and abroad.”
Friends of the Earth has led the campaign for a supermarkets ombudsman since 2004. Last month the Government formally backed the creation of the new role in line with the recommendations of the Competition Commission.
Source: Friends of the Earth