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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Rival spud promo angers farmers
A bus promoting the great British spud has been caught out giving away imported rivals.

Local farmers were said to be furious when they found out what was being handed out at a supermarket in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

The bus was on hire from the British Potato Council, which said it was disappointed with the mistake.

The council is supported by levies paid by potato traders to finance research and promote their own produce.

In a statement, BPC chief executive Helen Priestley said she was "extremely concerned" that the bus had been used to promote potatoes of Israeli origin.

Immediate action

The bus, caught distributing the rival baby potatoes outside an Asda supermarket, was on hire to March-based suppliers Fenmarc, a contributor to the potato council.

Ms Priestley said: "It has been brought to my attention that on 3 June potatoes of Israeli origin were served as samples from the British Potato Council's promotional bus while it was being used by a third party.

"I am shocked and disappointed that these companies took this course of action, given their stated commitment to British farming.

"The matter has, of course, been discussed with them at a senior level and Fenmarc has formally apologised for the oversight that led to this local error of judgement.

'Accidentally included

"The circumstances have been fully investigated and immediate action is being taken to ensure it will not happen again."

A Fenmarc spokesman said the company had booked the bus to promote British potatoes.

"On this particular occasion the Fenmarc colleague present made a mistake and imported 'baby new' potatoes were accidentally included in the promotional range.

"This was an isolated incident, and clearly will not be repeated."

The mistake was spotted and reported to the potato council by a local grower.

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