ACCC to crack down on free range and other food claims

The ACCC is this year prioritising credence claims in the food industry with chairman Rod Sims making special mention of “free range” eggs, country of origin labelling and the labeling of olive oils.

According to Adelaide Now, in November last year, the ACCC said it planned to reject a trademark certification application by the Australian Egg Corporation because the proposed rules would have allowed eggs to marketed as "free range" even though chicken densities would be "very significantly higher than those in existing standards”. Beak trimming would also have been "routinely practised.”

ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said "Country of origin claims, region of origin, like does meat come from King Island? We'll be focusing on whether things are organic or free-range when they claim to be," he explained.

Sims’ comments referencing King Island refer to a recent case where a business was found to have misled its consumers, leading them to believe that its meat came from King Island.

"We've taken cases, and we'll take more, on things like is the product what you're getting – you think you're getting extra virgin olive oil – are you? You think you're buying wool – are you?" asked Sims.

Other focus areas for the ACCC in 2013 include door-to-door salespeople, false claims by telecommunications and IT companies, unjustifiable price hikes blaimed on the carbon tax and protecting indigenous consumers.

The ACCC also recently announced its investigation into the supermarket duopoly amid claims Coles and Woolworths employ bullying tactics on producers to force prices down.


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