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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2849
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I have recently experienced a great deal of stress

Resolved Question:

Hello,
I have recently experienced a great deal of stress and trouble due to an incident caused, I would say, by the unclear labelling of a Tesco product.
I have a cat and I bought some lilies from my local Tesco. On their label it did say 'Potentially harmful to animals' but I only took a glance and did not make much of it as it only said 'potentially harmful' to pets in general, not even cats in particular. I also kept the flowers in a separate room so I really didn't make a big deal out of it.
The second day the cat came in the room that the flowers were and in which I am normally working in and accidentally got some pollen on its fur, in my presence. Then I remembered the label and I looked up lilies and cats on Google and discovered they are extremely poisonous and if any part is ingested (including pollen being licked off the fur) it can lead to kidney failure in 72 hours if not taken to a veterinary. Even if the delay is of a couple of hours, it is very likely that it will lead to severe kidney damage - irreversible. You can check out for more information http://www.cats.org.uk/wolverhampton/news/lethal-lilies and several other websites.
After I read that, I immediately washed the cat's fur, put a collar on him so he cannot lick himself, called the vet and took him there in probably 1h. After a blood test, the results were in the high normality. They still kept him there for the night on fluid to be absolutely sure any damaging substances would be flushed out. After quite a lot of stress and a bill of over £600 I took him back home.
I have read several things about cats before I bought this but I don't remember reading about lilies. Considering how poisonous they are, my opinion is that the label is misleading. It should at least be 'Poisonous to cats, potentially harmful to animals', possibly in red or with an icon of a cat crossed out so it is obvious it is dangerous. Maybe I even read about lilies before and I simply haven't clicked in that moment. I don't know. But I believe the label was not clear enough.
I don't know what the laws are on this matter, but I have read a lot of people's testimonies online and there have been quite a lot of cases. Apparently Tesco & Marks&Spencer were both unclear. For another case please go to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289569/The-Valentine-bouquet-killed-cats-Mothers-Day-warning-lethal-lilies.html. As I was saying, not sure if the current law is obliging companies to be specific about these things, but I believe it should. A lot of people have pets and especially cats and clearly - as it was my case as well as other people's - not all of us are aware of the extremely harmful effects that some common flowers have on our pets - and I strongly believe that that would not be the case if retailers would be clear on their labels. It should be their responsibility to inform and educate us properly about their products.
Also, an interesting fact is that they had a different message on the website than on the physical label - on the website they mention 'Lilies are harmful to cats if eaten'
Read more at http://www.tesco.com/direct/pink-oriental-lily-bouquet/129-4997.prd#JOHmxV3LdOtW1zyF.99. I have a picture of the label from the flowers I bought.
I look forward to your response.
Kind regards,
Magda Daniloaia
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Are you able to scan and attach a copy of the label for me to see?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alice, please see attached. Thanks!
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
Thank you:)As a pet owner myself I understand the issue fully and have every sympathy for you and your cat.But, as a lawyer, I have to out aside and personal feelings and give you an honest and objective opinion of the label and whether it contravenes any rules or regulations - that is, of course, what you are paying for.Looking at the label I can see the warning is clear, in reasonably sized type and on the price label instead of the back of the back of the bunch or some other obscure place.The duty on the supermarket is to place a warning on the label so you can see it with ease - this appears to be the case here. I would find it very difficult to say that you have any sort of case against the supermarket - based on the label that you've sent me they have complied with their duty.I'm sorry if this is not the answer you were hoping for but as I said earlier, I have to give you an honest, objective opinion on the law.
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
Please remember to take a moment to rate my answer. i am happy to discuss further if needed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Alice. So the law does not specify how they should warn customers? Is it possible to give me a reference of the law referring to such cases so I have a reference?
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
Hi - I will get the regulations for you and post back very soon. Alice
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
Good morning
There is no specific labelling laws relating to warning to pet owners. There is a lot of guidance that you will find on the web but no specific law relating to the dangerousness of flowers consumed by cats, for example.
But we can look at the labelling laws which relate to human food labels and by analogy see whether the supermarket has labelled a product correctly:
THE FOOD LABELLING REGULATIONS 1996
General requirement
35. When any food other than food to which regulation 23, 27 or 31 applies is sold, the particulars with which if is required to be marked or labelled by these Regulations shall appear—
(a)on the packaging, or
(b)on a label attached to the packaging, or
(c)on a label that is clearly visible through the packaging.
So, there is no specific "pet warning law", and as such no law has been broken by the supermarket, but in terms of the warning on the label it meets the general guidelines mentioned above.
Alice
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2849
Experience: Partner in national law firm
Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thanks Alice! Rating now.Have a good week.
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
OK thank you. Since posting my last answer I have considered whether the supermarket has been negligent and breached their duty of care or whether there has been an breach of contract. Despite my best efforts I cannot find anything that will help you - so I cannot give you any positive guidance or advice on taking action against the supermarket. I hope you have an enjoyable week and your cat is well :)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, Alice! Yes, I am a bit surprised there is nothing at all for animal protection with regards ***** ***** in the law, but then again I am sure there are lots of things such as this that are not yet established in the law. It was still good to have a clue about the situation and know for next times to be more vigilent with these things...Thanks a lot, have a lovely week ahead! :)

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