Misleading ‘free range’ claims lands Steggles, La Iconia chicken suppliers in court with ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking a chicken supplier to the Federal Court, claiming they wrongly advertised chickens as free range.

The ACCC has alleged national Steggles suppliers Baiada Poultry and Barttner Enterprises, La Iconica suppliers, Turi Foods and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation were misleading or deceptive in the promotion and supply of chicken products.

The ACCC says the impression that Steggles chickens are raised in barns with plenty of room to roam freely used in the advertisement and promotion greatly influence consumers.

It says Baiada Poultry and Barttner Enerprises made the misleading claims in print advertising and product packaging.

The ACCC alleges Turi Foods made its false or misleading representations through in-store displays and advertising on delivery trucks that La Ionica brand meat chickens are able to roam freely in barns with substantial space and in conditions equivalent to a free range system.

The Federation has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made misleading representations that meat chickens are raised in barns in which meat chickens have substantial space available allowing them to roam around freely, the ACCC alleges.

It also alleges that the population density of meat chickens raised in barns preclude such movement and is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and injunctions.

The ACCC also wants orders that the processor respondents publish corrective notices in newspapers and magazines and, in respect of ACMF, on its website, orders that the respondents implement trade practices compliance programs, and costs.

A spokesperson from Turi Foods told Food Magazine they cannot comment on the case for legal reasons.

Steggles and La Ionica have not responded to requests for comments on the issue.

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