The ACCC alleges that, from at least July 2, 2019, QYC failed to disclose the presence of gelatine, or the compound ingredient CFT-1 of which gelatine was a component, in its Queensland Yoghurt products, when in fact gelatine was an ingredient.
“Consumers rely on accurate labels to make informed purchasing decisions,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.
The ACCC said it had reasonable grounds to believe that by omitting gelatine (or CFT-1) from its ingredient list, QYC’s statement of ingredients was false or misleading, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
“QYC’s failure to disclose gelatine means consumers may have purchased its yogurt products believing they did not contain gelatine,” Court said.
“This may be of particular concern to consumers who have chosen not to consume gelatine for dietary, religious, environmental or ethical reasons.”
The ACCC said it was also concerned QYC was not competing fairly in a market where products are differentiated by their ingredients, by being able to offer an apparently more attractive product which was represented to be free from gelatine.
“Misleading representations relating to food are a 2020 enforcement priority area for the ACCC, and we will continue to take enforcement action where necessary,” Court said.
Queensland Yoghurt Company confirmed to DairyReporter it received an ACCC infringement notice due to omitting gelatine as an ingredient on the packaging of some of its yoghurt products.
The company said, “This omission was in no way intended to mislead customers and we can confirm that all associated packaging has been updated as of 15th May to comply with the ACCC findings.”
The Food Standards Code Australia and New Zealand requires that QYC must list either gelatine or CFT-1 in the statement of ingredients, and compliance with the Code is monitored by authorities in the states and territories.
Food manufacturers must comply with the Australian Consumer Law, the Food Standards Code Australia and New Zealand and the relevant state legislation which requires labels to provide accurate information regarding a product’s ingredients.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.