Luv-a-Duck to pay $360,000 over misleading claims

Duck meat supplier, Luv-a-Duck, has been ordered to pay $360,000 by the Federal Court for making false representations on its packaging and in marketing material.

The Federal Court has ordered that Luv-a-Duck, a large supplier of duck meat products with a market share of about 40 percent, pay $360,000 in civil pecuniary penalties following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The company must also pay $15,000 towards the ACCC's costs.

The court found that Luv-a-Duck had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct (or conduct likely to mislead or deceive) and made false representations by using words on its packaging, website, brochures and in a promotion for the Good Food & Wine Show in Adelaide in 2012, that its ducks were:

  • ‘grown and grain fed in the spacious Victorian Wimmera Wheatlands’; and/or
  • ‘range reared and grain fed’ (which mainly appeared as a logo).

The ACCC argued that these descriptions suggested Luv-a-Duck's products were from ducks that spent at least a substantial amount of time outdoors, were raised in a spacious outside environment and were of a different quality than duck meat products processed from barn-raised ducks.

In actual fact, Luv-a-Duck's ducks didn't spent any time outside their barn.

"This penalty is a further warning to the poultry industry and businesses generally that consumers are entitled to trust that what is said on product packaging and other promotional product material is true and accurate," said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

"Traders who abuse the trust of Australian consumers may also find themselves exposed to similar enforcement action."

Credence claims, particularly in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, have been a point of focus for the ACCC this year.

Just last week, Baiada Poultry and Bartter Enterprises, the suppliers and processors of Steggles chicken products were ordered to pay $400,000 in penalties over misleading 'free to roam' claims.

Water brands making 'organic' claims were also directed by the ACCC to remove such claims from their bottled water products.

Deputy chairwoman for the ACCC, Delia Rickard, said "Organic standards acknowledge that water cannot be organic. Any claim that particular water is organic would therefore be misleading or deceptive."



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