HC Deb 16 November 2001 vol 374 cc920-1W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry(1) what measures exist to ensure that consumers are not sold items made of or containing domestic(a) dog and (b) cat fur by (i) mistake and (ii) fraudulent practices; [13794]

(2) what measures are in place to combat potential consumer fraud with regard to the sale of fur (a) garments and (b) items; [13796]

(3) how many people are employed by her Department to ensure that fur products on sale in the United Kingdom are accurately described; and what is their annual budget; [13795]

(4) what information (a) is given and (b) has to be given by law to consumers regarding the origin by (i) species and (ii) country of (A) fur garments,(B) garments containing fur trim and (C) items made from fur in the United Kingdom; [13793]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The Department does not enforce legislation which protects consumers from misleading statements about products. Trading standards officers who are employed directly by Local Authorities enforce the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 place the duty to investigate under the Regulations on the Director General of Fair Trading.

It is a criminal offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 for a person in the course of a trade or business to apply, by any means, false or misleading statements to goods, including statements about their composition. Additionally, the Director General of Fair Trading can take injunctive action under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 (as amended) to prevent misleading advertisements. The regulations define an advertisement widely, as any form of representation which is made in connection with a trade or business in order to promote the supply or transfer of goods.

Trade Descriptions (Sealskin Goods) (Information) Order 1980 requires goods made wholly or partly of, or derived wholly or partly from, sealskin to be legibly and conspicuously marked with, or accompanied by, information to the effect that the goods are made of sealskin and where the seals were taken.

Department is not aware of any other legislation that requires fur products to be labelled with information.