Food manufacturers should be aware that the ACCC is targeting misleading labelling on food products. Those caught doing so will pay the price. A finding of misleading conduct can also lead to negative publicity towards your brand and potentially damage your reputation.
The Barossa Valley in South Australia is considered a premium food and wine destination. Certain products of Maggie Beer Products incorporated labelling alleged by the ACCC to indicate the products were made in the Barossa Valley, when in fact the products were manufactured in Victoria and Queensland. There was also evidence to suggest Maggie Beer Products had made representations to a supermarket that the goods were made locally, when this was not the case.
The ACCC has obtained court enforceable undertakings from Maggie Beer Products for the alleged misleading labelling. The company must now change its labelling and review its consumer law policies. Ms Beer has also taken steps to try to minimise the damage to her brand by releasing a media statement and a video addressing the misleading labelling.
This is the second time the ACCC has taken action against the Beer family for misleading labelling. In June this year, Ms Beer’s daughter was found to have misled consumers by stating on product labels that certain pork products were from heritage Berkshire pigs, when this was not the case.
Following our article on the misleading use of ‘Baked Today, Sold Today’ by Coles (see here), the action shows the ACCC’s willingness to protect consumers from misleading labelling on food products. The adverse publicity associated with the ACCC’s actions also has the potential to negatively impact consumer impressions of your brand.
At Mills Oakley we want to assist our clients in avoiding any ACCC action for misleading labelling. Please contact us if you have any questions on the above or would like assistance with the legal review of your product labelling and advertising collateral. Mills Oakley has substantial experience in all aspects of Australian consumer law.