Queensland Yoghurt Company Pty Ltd (QYC) has paid a penalty of $12,600 after the ACCC issued it with an infringement notice for allegedly misleading consumers by omitting gelatine as an ingredient in some of its yoghurt products.
The ACCC alleges that, from at least 2 July 2019, QYC failed to disclose the presence of gelatine, or the compound ingredient CFT-1 of which gelatine was a component, in its Queensland Yoghurt products, when in fact gelatine was an ingredient.
“Consumers rely on accurate labels to make informed purchasing decisions,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
The ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe that by omitting gelatine (or CFT-1) from its ingredient list, QYC’s statement of ingredients was false or misleading, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
“QYC’s failure to disclose gelatine means consumers may have purchased its yoghurt products believing they did not contain gelatine,” Ms Court said.
“This may be of particular concern to consumers who have chosen not to consume gelatine for dietary, religious, environmental or ethical reasons.”
The ACCC was also concerned that QYC was not competing fairly in a market where products are differentiated by their ingredients, by being able to offer an apparently more attractive product which was represented to be free from gelatine.
“Misleading representations relating to food are a 2020 enforcement priority area for the ACCC, and we will continue to take enforcement action where necessary,” Ms Court said.
QYC has committed to amend its products’ statement of ingredients by the end of May.
Food manufacturers must comply with the Australian Consumer Law, the Food Standards Code Australia and New Zealand and the relevant state legislation which requires labels to provide accurate information regarding a product’s ingredients.
Queensland Yoghurt Company Pty Ltd is an Australian-owned supplier of yoghurt products sold under its own brand in Queensland (Queensland Yoghurt) and brands owned by independent state-based distributors.
Notes to editors:
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC can issue an infringement notice when it has reasonable grounds to believe a person or business has contravened certain consumer protection laws.
The Food Standards Code Australia and New Zealand requires that QYC must list either gelatine or CFT-1 in the statement of ingredients, and compliance with the Code is monitored by authorities in the states and territories.
More information about the Code can be found on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website.
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