Game Farm pays infringement notices for allegedly misleading ‘range reared’ claims
Australian game bird producer Game Farm Pty Ltd (Game Farm) has paid two infringement notices totalling $20,400 and provided a court enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The penalties and undertaking are in relation to representations on Game Farm’s packaging and website that the birds it raised were “range reared”, when in fact they were grown in commercial sheds with no access to the outdoors.
Game Farm is a multi-species game bird producer. It supplies quail, spatchcock, duck, chicken and turkey to consumers through supermarket chains and to wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and speciality butchers.
The ACCC said it considered that the “range reared” representation was likely to lead consumers to believe that birds were allowed to spend a substantial amount of their time outdoors on an open range.
“The ACCC continues to warn the poultry industry that claims made on packaging and in advertising must be true and accurate and not mislead consumers,” said Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman.
“Credence claims are a priority area for the ACCC, particularly as they have the potential to influence consumers and disadvantage competitors,” Mr Sims said. “The ACCC will continue to take action to protect consumers from false or misleading representations,” he said.
The ACCC decided it was appropriate to issue two $10,200 infringement notices to Game Farm. The first notice was the the “range reared” representations made on the packaging of Game Farm’s Gourmet Quail product and the second was for the “range reared” representation made on its website.
As part of the court enforceable undertaking, Game Farm will send a corrective notice to its major customers and will establish and implement a trade practices compliance program to ensure this type of conduct does not occur again.
Other recent credence claim issues in the poultry industry
Australian Food News reported earlier in November 2013 that the Federal Court had ordered Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd and Bartter Enterprises Pty Ltd pay a total of $400,000 in civil pecuniary penalties for “misleading free-to-roam” claims, and ordered by consent that Luv-a-Duck Pty Ltd pay $360,000 in civil pecuniary penalties for misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the promotion and supply of its duck meat products.