Federal Court fines poultry producer $100,000 over ‘free to roam’ claim

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th January 2012

One of Australia’s largest poultry producers, Turi Foods, has been ordered by the Federal Court of Australia, to pay AU$100,000 penalty after admitting to a misleading claim.

In September 2011, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Turi Foods, which supplies La Ionica brand meat chickens in New South Wales and Victoria. The claim was that the chickens were “free to roam”.

The ACCC alleged that Turi Foods made “false or misleading” claims in print advertising and product packaging that its chickens are raised in barns with “substantial space available allowing them to roam freely”.

In December 2011, Melbourne Federal Court sitting in Melbourne heard that each of the chickens at Turi’s factories had a space equivalent to an A4 sheet of paper.

Federal Court judge Richard Tracey handed down judgement on 24 January 2012 ordering Turi Foods to pay a AU$100,000 penalty as well as ordering Turi to publish a national newspaper advertisement explaining the outcome of the case.

Two other major Australian poultry suppliers, Bartter Enterprises and Baiada Poultry, also made the “free to roam” claim and are each fighting a similar lawsuit brought by the ACCC.