ACCC bring clarity to the murky world of pork labelling
Today ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) announced it had concluded the investigation into alleged misleading conduct in the pork industry arising from credence claims presented on packaged pork.
Verna Simpson, Humane Society International Australia Director said today, “Since 2008 Humane Society International has been working to ensure that claims on produce such as free range are honest. The interest in higher welfare food has grown dramatically over the last decade and there were several players in the market place that we believe were seeking to take advantage of the premium prices you could charge for branded product, without actually producing to those standards.”
As a result of their investigations today ACCC has accepted court enforceable undertakings from P&M Quality Smallgoods Pty Ltd (Trading as Primo) George Weston Foods Pty Ltd (trading as KR Castlemaine) and Pastoral Pork Company Pty Ltd (trading as Otway Pork). All of these companies acknowledged that their conduct may have contravened Australian Consumer Law and have committed to implement consumer law compliance programs and publish corrective notices on their websites.
In each of these cases ACCC considered that the reference to how the pigs were farmed gave the false impression that they were free range and that consumers may have been misled into paying a premium for a product feature that did not exist.
It was also noted that legitimate free range producers would also be harmed not only by losing their competitive advantage but by undermining consumer confidence resulting in a loss of trust.
We are pleased that APL (Australian Pork Limited) has agreed to cooperate and address ACCC’s concerns. When we established the Humane Choice label for genuine free range produce we had several discussions with APL pointing out that the terms they were using were confusing and we attempted to negotiate new terms that truly reflected the farming methods used but they were unmoved,” Ms Simpson continued.
This is a big day for true free range pork producers and for consumers who are seeking higher welfare foods and are prepared to pay the premium. How refreshing will it be to know that the product label is truly reflecting the way an animal lived. ACCC have brought clarity to the marketplace,” Ms Simpson concluded.