ACCC acts to protect consumers and King Island producers

23 February 2012

A Federal Court decision has protected consumers and King Island producers from misleading place of origin representations following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The court has imposed a $50,000 penalty on a Victorian butcher, Hooker Meats Pty Ltd trading as Peninsula Bulk Meats, after it admitted that it had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by falsely claiming that the meat it offered for sale was sourced from King Island.

“Primary producers work hard to develop a regional reputation for quality produce. Consumers are willing to pay more for that assurance of quality,” ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims said.

“Unfortunately, retailers that falsely associate themselves with that regional reputation for quality can quickly undermine the integrity of the reputation and the hard work of primary producers. Consumers unknowingly pay a premium for goods falsely associated with that region.”

Between July 2007 and February 2011, Hooker Meats advertised a “Full Range of King Island Trading Beef and Dairy Products”, used a distinctive logo depicting King Island and used the words “King Island” as part of the description of specific cuts of meat.  However, the meat it sold was not from cattle raised on King Island.

“This court case is a lesson to those retailers that might be tempted to engage in similar misleading conduct – do so and you may find yourself in court,” Mr Sims said.

Hooker Meats also provided the court with an undertaking to cease to represent that its product originated from cattle that were raised on King Island in circumstances where the product does not, in fact, originate from cattle raised on King Island.

Release number: 
NR 025/12
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