The creators of the famous ‘Stonehaven deep-fried Mars bar’ have been hit with a warning from the confectionary giant to make clear to customers that Mars does not endorse the fatty treat.
The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire claims to be the birthplace of the dish after a young schoolboy requested his favourite treat be smothered in batter and plunged into a deep-fat fryer 20 years ago.
To celebrate the anniversary, the shop planned to bid for EU protected food name scheme, which would bring it in line with other regional ‘delicacies’ such as Prosciutto Toscano, Stilton, Cornish pasties and Champagne.
However, Mars has now written to the Carron Fish Bar’s owners to make clear that it does not authorise or endorse the dish as it does not fit the company’s promotion of a “healthy active lifestyle.”
Lorraine Watson, who runs the fish and chip shop with her husband Charlie, told the Scotsman newspaper that he letter requested the chip shop carry a disclaimer on any menus pointing out that the use of Mars bars for deep fat frying is “not authorised or endorsed by Mars Incorporated”.
It is thought that talk of Carron Fish Bar’s bid for protected status was what first attracted Mars’ attention. The bid has subsequently been dropped.
Mrs Watson said: “When I looked in to applying for special status and looked at all the paperwork I realised it would never be a viable thing for us to do.
“It would involve a lot of communication with Mars themselves and that just wasn’t going to happen.
“I was amazed when I got the lawyer’s letter because I really feel they are giving me a slap on the wrist when I haven’t tried to offend them.”
She added: “We have been selling this deep fried Mars product for 20 years and this is the first time we have heard from Mars.
“Have I really offended them that much? I think it’s sad that it’s come to this.
“But we are quite happy to put a disclaimer on the main menu for the shop because I don’t want any reason for them to come back and try some sort of court action against me.”
A Mars spokesperson said: “We are really flattered that customers of Carron Fish Bar like our product so much that it has now become a flagship product for the store.
”No application for a protected geographical indication has been filed to date.
“Should an application be filed, unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to support it as deep-frying one of our products would go against our commitment to promoting healthy, active lifestyles.”