Coast food business served hefty fine for ingredient blunder
QUEENSLAND Yoghurt Company Pty Ltd 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, the company 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, Queensland Yoghurt Company'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 the company was not competing fairly in a market where products were 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.
A spokesman for Queensland Yoghurt Company confirmed they received an ACCC infringement notice due to omitting gelatine as an ingredient on the packaging of some of its yoghurt products.
"This omission was in no way intended to mislead customers and we can confirm that all associated packaging has been updated as of 15th May to comply with the ACCC findings," he said.
The spokesman said Queensland Yoghurt Company was established in 2003 and had been built on the commitment of using 100 per cent all-natural, fresh, local produce.
He said the company employed about 75 people across its network.