The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has concluded investigations into alleged misleading conduct in the pork industry arising from ‘free range’, ‘bred free range’ and ‘bred outdoors’ labelling.
The ACCC has accepted court enforceable undertakings from Primo Smallgoods, KR Castlemaine and Otway Pork as a result of these investigations.
“It is important that the description on product packaging and in promotional material accurately reflects the living conditions of the animals raised for the production of meat products,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“When claims such as “free range” or “bred free range” are misused, consumers may be misled into paying more for a product feature that doesn’t exist,” Mr. Sims said.
In each of these three cases, the ACCC considered that the reference to either ‘free range’ (used by Primo Small goods) or ‘bred free range’ (used by Otway Pork and KR Castlemaine) in the promotion and labelling of the pork products was likely to give consumers the overall impression that the pigs were farmed according to free range methods. “
“These methods include that, at a minimum, pigs are able to move about freely in an outdoor paddock on most ordinary days. In fact, this was not the case.”
“In all cases, the producers have committed not to use the same descriptions unless their farming practices are such that, at a minimum, the pigs are able to move about freely in an outdoor paddock on most ordinary days. They have also agreed to implement consumer law compliance programs and publish corrective notices,” Mr Sims said.