The Guardian did not publish headline on UK 'tomato famine'

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on March 1, 2023 at 19:36
  • 1 min read
Twitter users are sharing a supposed screenshot of an article from The Guardian about tomato shortages due to the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union. This is false; no such article appears online, and both the newspaper and the supposed author confirmed it is fake.

"Britain will look back at the Great Tomato Famine of 2023 and wish they were less racist," says the headline in a photo of a purported article shared in a February 25, 2023 tweet.

Other Twitter and Facebook users shared the same photo. The posts appear to suggest a shortage of tomatoes and other fresh produce in the UK is a consequence of Brexit -- and that prejudice tainted the 2016 vote to quit the EU.

Screenshot of a tweet taken February 28, 2023

The image includes The Guardian's logo and the byline of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who has written a number of articles for the UK daily.

But the journalist has not contributed to the newspaper since 2016, according to online archives. The Guardian has also not published an article with the headline shared online.

"We can confirm that the screenshot shared has never been a published Guardian headline or story," a spokesperson told AFP in an email.

Alibhai-Brown added in another email: "I never wrote this. Social media fakery is out of control."

The Guardian has covered produce shortages in the UK, reporting February 23 that soaring energy bills coupled with surges in the price of fertilizer and packaging are to blame for the dearth of tomatoes.

Misinformers often use well-known news brands or logos to gain credibility and spread fabricated posts. AFP has debunked other imposter content here, here, here and here.

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