MOI International (Australia) Pty Ltd has paid two infringement notices totalling $20,400 for misleading claims made on the label of its products, following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
MOI International’s ‘Mediterranean Blend’ oil product was prominently labelled as ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ and ‘100% Olive Oil’. The ACCC considers that by using these descriptions, MOI International represented that the oil was completely or predominantly composed of extra virgin olive oil.
MOI International imported the Mediterranean Blend oil from a related company in Malaysia and sold 3-Litre tins of the oil in 2012 and 2013. Fine print on the side of the container revealed that the composition of the oil was in fact 93 per cent canola oil and seven per cent extra virgin olive oil.
"The term 'extra virgin' is widely understood by consumers to mean a premium product. Consumers should be able to trust that what's on the label is what's in the bottle when making purchasing decisions," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“Traders who mislead consumers in this manner leave themselves wide open to enforcement action from the ACCC.”
Although there is no mandatory standard for extra virgin olive oil in Australia, it is widely accepted that it is the highest grade oil obtained from the first press of the best quality olives, it is not blended with other oil and that there are no solvents or refining in the manufacturing process.
The payment of infringement notice penalties is not an admission of a contravention of the ACL. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice under section 134A of the ACL where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws. The infringement notices will be listed on the Public Register on the ACCC’s website.
In October 2012, the ACCC and Food Standards Australia New Zealand published a guide to olive oil labelling titled ‘The Good Oil’.
The infringement notices are available at http://transition.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1116325