Calling 'foul' on trade name

An MP is demanding that Marks and Spencer changes the trade name it uses for chickens sold nationwide in its stores.

Alan Duncan, Shadow Cabinet minister and the MP for Melton and Rutland, is calling 'foul' because the high street chain sells chickens under the 'Oakham' label - even though the birds are bred in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Mr. Duncan - whose constituency includes the Rutland market town of Oakham - has been joined in his campaign by local farmers and residents, who say that the name should be reserved for products made exclusively in the area.

"This is not a genuine Oakham product," said the MP " and yet Marks and Spencer is poaching the name of our county town. I am writing to the company's chief executive demanding it changes the name of its chickens."

Local farmers Henry and Pat Taylor, of Cuckoo Farm, in nearby Ketton, said: "This is misleading . We have a shop in Oakham and customers have been asking us if we sell to Marks and Spencer. They're cashing in because Oakham is an upmarket, attractive place."

But that's nonsense, say M&S: "Oakham is the brand name we have chosen for our exclusive range of chickens. We will respond to Mr. Duncan when we get his letter, It's a brand name and has no geographical significance," said spokeswoman Vivienne Jawett.

The chair of Oakham's Chamber of Trade, Peter Jones, retorted by saying that if the company was trading in on the town's name it would be nice if they gave something back: "They could contribute to one of our big public events!" he added.

Mayor Paul Beech said: "You can't call a bottle of fizzy wine Champagne if it doesn't come from there, so they shouldn't be able to sell Oakham chickens unless they are bred here."

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