Food manufacturers, packaging organisations and consumers have been warned that counterfeit household items including food products are becoming increasingly common in Australia.
Yesterday NSW Police seized 33 tonnes of counterfeit laundry powder labeled as reputable brand OMO, in Sydney.
The seizure is the result of extensive investigations that have run over several months, which aim to track down and intercept the sale of counterfeit items.
Police are expected to lay a range of charges against the two individuals allegedly behind the importation and sale of this counterfeit product.
“Sadly this is an increasing threat for all Australians,” Mary Weir, General Counsel of Unilever Australia, which produces the authentic product, said.
“The counterfeiting of consumer goods is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry around the globe and it is important that those seeking to engage in this criminal activity understand they will be subject to the full weight of the law.
“The Police action is part of a larger law enforcement drive necessary to protect consumers and ensure they can buy well known and trusted brands like OMO with confidence.
“However, consumer also need to be wary about products claiming to be trusted brands – particularly from overseas- and should always ensure they deal with reputable retailers.
Food brands including Nestle and Kraft are also dealing with brand imitations and working in collaboration with police to stamp out the practice.
Recently, Food Magazine thought Nestlé had changed its infamous Milo jar, by adding a glass bottle to its range, but when we asked Nestlé about the change, they said it was not a new development, but rather a counterfeit product.
The Milo jar appears to be authentic, judging by the labelling.
The nutritional panels also seem to be authentic.
Although on closer inspection, it appears the label on one side is upside down. Mistakes like these, which the authentic manufacturers would not make, are one way to spot counterfeit products.
It is difficult for consumers to be 100 per cent confident that they are not buying any counterfeit products, but should look for the "Australian Made” logo to make sure, and if they believe it could be a fake, should return the product to the retailer and request a full refund.