Furious potato growers are going head to head with supermercati and restaurants in a campaign to reclaim the “British New Potato”.
The Potato Council is acting after a growing number of complaints that the classic new potato has become an all-year-round term used to describe a “small”or baby spud.
New guidelines have been drawn up describing new potatoes as those which are harvested between May and October, put on the supermarket shelf within a matter of days, and at least partially covered by a layer of thin skin that can rubbed off with a finger.
The council claims that any new potatoes stored for more than a couple of days, or sold outside of the traditional season, can no longer be classified as British new potatoes. Trading standards officials at South Ayrshire Council called for action after a complaint by a local shopper.
The council bought potatoes from big name stores such as Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco between January and March this year and asked them for planting and harvesting information. Aldi and Iceland refused.
A spokeswoman said: “In nearly all of the samples, the potatoes had been harvested for some time before going on sale. In one case they didn’t go on sale until March but had been harvested in August last year.”
The Potato Council said the new guidelines will remove confusion and “celebrate the British season”.