A2 Milk suing ABC over TV show ‘The Checkout’
Publicly-listed company, A2 Milk Ltd, has launched legal action against the ABC TV show ‘The Checkout’.
The milk producer says the show engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct” and were in breach of Australian Consumer Law when it aired a segment on the A2 product earlier this year.
In the episode, A2 was accused of misleading consumers when it came to the benefits of its milk. The show reported the opinion that research has not yet been able to strongly link A2 milk to health benefits.
A2 Milk markets itself as an alternative to regular cow’s milk for people who get upset stomachs when consuming it. Normal cow’s milk contains both A1 and A2 proteins but A2 milk just contains the A2 protein.
The A2 Milk Ltd Company does not claim its product is suitable for those who have a lactose intolerance. A2 does however state on its website about its milk that “many people say it feels better in their bodies”. The company provides scientific research to substantiate its claims of the benefits of A2 milk but this was disputed by The Checkout during their program.
In a letter addressed to one of the shows researchers, Mark Sutton, A2 Australia CEO Peter Nathan said, “It is scientific fact that there is a structural difference between A2 and A1 proteins and that the two proteins behave differently on digestion.”
In its Statement of Claim, A2 Milk Ltd says that the show did not provide a balanced and accurate report and responds directly to each criticism.
The ABC’s lawyers have defended the TV show and have rejected the claim that The Checkout mislead and deceived.
The ABC says broadcasters are exempt from engaging in misleading behaviour when it comes to consumer law.
However, one of Australia’s best-known commercial barristers, Allan Myers QC, who is representing A2 Milk said the ABC engaged in commerce by promoting the segment through its own advertising and internet channels so cannot defend itself on this ground.
The case is expected to be heard at the start of July 2015.