ACCC tackles herb faking with court undertaking

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 19th December 2016

Spencers dried oregano will undergo regular testing after an investigation has found the oregano was not in fact 100 per cent oregano.

The Federal court-enforceable testing, which has been accepted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), follows an initial investigation by consumer advocacy group CHOICE, which in April 2016 announced the results of a test that found only five out of 12 supermarket dried oregano products actually contained 100 per cent oregano.

Spencers were amongst the brands which did not contain 100 per cent oregano but instead included either olive or sumac leaves.

CHOICE’s findings were passed onto the ACCC which have investigated the findings and has already accepted court-enforceable regular testing of Aldi private label and Menora Foods dried oregano.

Discussing the decision to subject Spencer’s to regular testing, ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court, said it was crucial for consumers that labelling on food products are accurate.

“Suppliers must ensure that they have a basis for any representations made about a product, including on its label or other packaging” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

When CHOICE first released its investigation results in April 2016, Australian Food News spoke to a number of the oregano producers who expressed that they themselves were unaware they were not being supplied with 100 per cent oregano.

When speaking with a spokesperson from Spencers in April 2016, Australian Food News was told that it was in talks with its suppliers over the matter and that it may have unknowingly on sold a product that was not to specification.

Spencers is a distributor of oregano in Australia and supplies to major retailers in Western Australia. Its oregano sales volume in 2015 was 100,000 units.

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