Bera Foods pays fine for ‘false or misleading’ honey label

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 1st December 2014
Bera Foods pays fine for ‘false or misleading’ honey label
Bera Foods pays fine for ‘false or misleading’ honey label

Hume Import & Export (Australia) Pty Ltd trading as Bera Foods (Bera Foods) has paid a penalty of $10,200 following the issue of an infringement notice by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, for a ‘false or misleading’ label on a Bera Foods “honey” product.

The ACCC considered that by using the word “Honey” and including a map of Australia on the “Hi Honey” label, Bera Foods had misrepresented the product was Australian honey when in fact the product was predominantly composed of plant sugars and was produced in Turkey.

ACCC concerns

The infringement notice was issued to Bera Foods because the ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe Bera Foods had made a false or misleading representation about the composition of Bera Foods’ “Hi Honey” product, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

“The ACCC was concerned in this case because although “Hi Honey” was labelled as honey, the product was not actually honey produced by honey bees,” said Sarah Court, ACCC Commissioner. “Honey suppliers must ensure any products they sell as “honey” are in fact produced entirely by honey bees,” she said.

“Further, the inclusion of a prominent map of Australia on the Hi Honey label may have led consumers to conclude the product was produced in Australia when this was not the case,” Ms Court said. “Credence claims such as this are a priority area for the ACCC, to ensure consumers are given accurate information about the content and origin of products,” she said.

Other “honey” cases

Australian Food News reported in June 2013 that the ACCC had issued three Infringement Notices and accepted a court enforceable undertaking in relation to “Victoria Honey”, which was not produced by honey bees and was not a product of Victoria, Australia. Australian wholesaler of Turkish and Mediterranean foods Basfoods (Aust) Pty Ltd (Basfoods) paid penalties totalling $30,600 following the issue of the three infringement notices.

Recently, the ACCC also took steps to ensure suppliers of “Sunshine Honey”, “Hecham Honey”, “Brezzo Italian Red Gum Honey”, “Meg Myucku 100 per cent natural honey” and “Golden Honey” ceased supply of the product and withdrew remaining stocks of the product from wholesale customers, because each of these products labelled as honey was not entirely produced by honey bees.