Aldi and Spring Gully Foods forced by ACCC to re-label honey product

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th August 2011

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted court enforceable undertakings from Aldi Foods Pty Ltd and Spring Gully Foods Pty Ltd in relation to misleading claims about the composition of Aldi’s ‘Just Organic’ honey.

ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell said, “Consumers expect products to match the description on the label. In this case, consumers expected premium honey sourced from Kangaroo Island.”

The ‘Just Organic’ honey label affixed to the product between early January 2008 and mid 2010 claimed it was ‘produced’ or ‘made with honey produced’ on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It is well known that Kangaroo Island has the only remaining pure population of the Ligurian honeybee in the world.

Different batches of the product produced during this period actually contained from 0.84 per cent to 50.07 per cent of Kangaroo Island honey, with the exception of one batch which did contain 100 per cent honey from Kangaroo Island.

Subsequently, the label of the product produced from mid 2010 to late 2010 stated that it was a blend of Australian organic certified honey and honey ‘produced on Kangaroo Island’ when it only contained between 0.076 per cent and 10.13 per cent Kangaroo Island honey.

The product was manufactured by Spring Gully Foods and supplied for sale exclusively through Aldi Stores. Spring Gully was involved in developing the content of the label and Aldi approved the label.

Aldi Foods and Spring Gully accepted that the labels would be likely to have misled consumers about the composition of the product in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974*.

Both Aldi Foods and Spring Gully Foods have provided a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC that they will not represent that honey products are:

  • sourced from a particular location when those products are not sourced 100 per cent from the particular
  • a blend of honey with reference to a particular location when those products contain an insignificant amount of honey from the particular location

They will also inform consumers by corrective notices (on their websites, by Aldi in its stores and by Spring Gully Foods in newspapers), and establish and implement a compliance program.

The undertakings will be available on the public register on the ACCC website.

*On 1 January 2011 as part of Australian Consumer Law amendments the Trade Practices Act 1974 was renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.