ACCC targets misleading organic claims

20 June 2018

Dreamz Pty Ltd, trading as GAIA Skin Naturals (GAIA), has paid $37,800 in penalties for alleged false or misleading representations after the ACCC issued three infringement notices.

GAIA described its Natural Baby Bath & Body Wash, Baby Shampoo and Baby Moisturiser as “Pure ★ Natural ★ Organic”. However, these products contain two synthetic chemical preservatives: sodium hydroxyl methyl glycinate and phenoxyethanol.

“Businesses making organic claims must be able to substantiate those claims. GAIA’s claims may have misled consumers into thinking these products are free from synthetic chemicals when they are not,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

This enforcement outcome with GAIA forms part of broader work by the ACCC relating to organic representations. Acting on information from stakeholders, the ACCC has assessed the use of organic claims across a range of businesses and products.

As part of this work, the ACCC identified concerns with a small number of Naturis Organic Breads’ products which do not contain synthetic chemicals or preservatives but contain a mix of organic and non-organic ingredients. In response to our concerns, Naturis has amended its website and the relevant product labels.

Background

Certification is not legally required for a product supplied in Australia to be described as organic. However, where a company describes its product as organic, it must ensure that representation is not false, misleading or deceptive. Further information is available here.

The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

GAIA supplies a range of skin care and baby products through six distributors to supermarkets, pharmacies and baby shops throughout Australia.

Naturis Organic Breads is a supplier of bread products primarily to businesses based in NSW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example of GAIA product labelling at 29 January 2018

Release number: 
MR 112/18
ACCC Infocentre: 

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