Amid a widespread boycott movement against Israeli businesses and products, German multinational retail chain “Lidl” has found itself at the heart of controversy for misrepresenting the country of origin of some Israeli imported products and labeling them with a “Morocco” tag.
The controversy gained particular attention when the pictures of avocados with the false Morocco label went viral.
Several Twitter now “X” users reported on encounters with products of Israeli origin found with the Moroccan tag, in France and Belgium, especially avocados and dates.
— S. (@_saarah42) November 6, 2023
— Reddaldo🇩🇿 (@psgdz95) November 9, 2023
Les dates aussi, j’ai vu en Belgique qu’il sont entrain de vendre les dates israéliennes avec le drapeau Marocain. est scandaleux pic.twitter.com/GfvJyBZyp6
— 𝔄𝔫𝔬𝔫𝔶𝔪𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔓𝔯𝔢𝔰𝔰 (@AnonymousPresse) November 9, 2023
X user @_saraarah42 reported another incident showing Israeli pomegranates labeled as Spanish.
Contacted by ActuStrasbourg, the Lidl group states that “this is a display error, due to the fact that we regularly have avocados and pomegranates from different sources on the shelves (Spain, Peru, Colombia, Kenya, Israel, etc.) .)”.
“In view of recent events in the Middle East, we are dismayed by what is happening and are observing the situation with great concern. Schwarz Group companies reject all forms of violence. Our thoughts are with the victims of the conflict,” adds Lidl’s communications department.
An article from the French General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), specifies that “food presented for sale must offer clear and precise labeling in order to better inform the consumer”, explains ActuStrasbourg, who then interviewed the Twitter user for more information.
Sarah explains that it was her cousin Marie who took the photos. “Being a law student, my reflex was to try to understand why such bad information was given to clients,” she said.
The same media carried on with its investigation and went to the Lidl where the pictures Sarah shared were taken, and found avocados of a Moroccan origin and an Israeli origin.
“When we look at the label stuck on the box where the avocados from Morocco are stored, it actually indicates origin from Chile. And, under the label “Israel”, we actually find a variety of avocados of Mexican origin… In short, we got totally lost,” explained ActuStrasbourg.
Journalists approached a Lidl employee to address the label misunderstanding in Sarah’s images, and the person clarified that the package in question contained avocados from Israel as well as Morocco, contradicting Lidl’s claim that the error was a “display error.”
Some Moroccans on Twitter are calling the kingdom to sue the retail giant, following the internet users’ accusations.