Primo fined for mislabelled ‘Australian’ bacon

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 10th June 2010

Bacon and EggsA Local Court decision will see Australia’s largest manufacturer of smallgoods, Primo Pty Ltd, fined a total of $433,325 for mislabelling Danish and Canadian bacon as Australian-made.

Primo plead guilty in March to 63 charges under the NSW Food Act 2003, including 45 charges of misleading or deceptive conduct, the rest relating to traceability.

“This is the largest fine ever imposed in NSW in relation to food labelling and an excellent result given the scope and seriousness of the charges brought against this company,” Minister Whan said.

Magistrate Barkell, in handing down her decision at Downing Centre Court, noted deterrence for other companies as a factor in the sentence, which comprised a $233,325 fine and $200,000 in court costs.

She said that Primo had failed to ensure proper implementation of quality control procedures, and that “Considering the range of products over which these offences occurred, that these failures were systematic.”

Primo, a family-owned company in operation for 25 years, owns and operates abbatoirs in Port Wakefield and Scone, plus manufacturing plants, packing facilities and distribution warehouses around Australia.

NSW Food Authority Christine Tumney estimated the amount of mislabelled product as over one ton, with the foreign product labelled “Product of Australia” and “Meat content 100% Australian”.