Supermarket chain Supabarn has been fined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after it was found that their house brand apple juice was grossly misleading. According to the ACCC, Supabarn’s manufacturer, the Real Juice Company, lied about the source of its apple and cranberry juice products.
On Thursday, the ACC announced that it had levied a fine of more than ten thousand dollars on both Supabarn and the Real Juice Company for falsely representing their product at market. On labels for the apple juice, the company asserted that the product was “Made in Griffith”; but it turned out that the product was actually reconstituted in Australia using a Chinese made concentrate. Similarly, their cranberry juice claimed to have “no added sugar, no artificial flavours, no artificial colours, no preservatives”, a fact that was disproved by product testing.
ACCC chair Rod Sims told the media that the issue of food-sourcing was becoming more important to Australian consumers.
“The claims we say were made versus the reality in this situation are very concerning, particularly given recent controversy over the source of some food products,” he explained. “In addition, false or misleading claims of this kind not only mislead consumers, but can also disadvantage competing suppliers in the market, especially those who are using Australian grown fruit.”
In defence of its dodgy actions, Supabarn declared its innocence in the matter, distancing itself from its supplier.
“Supabarn itself was misled by Real Juice about the composition of its product. Supabarn is considering its legal position in relation to the conduct of Real Juice,” a representative indicated. But the ACCC quickly rejected the basis of these claims.
“Both manufacturers and retailers can be responsible for representations made on packaging or labeling of the products they supply, and each level in the supply chain should have systems in place to ensure that their products are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr. Sims asserted.
Though the Real Juice Company is based in Griffith, there is no indication that the product was actually made using Australian fruit. Falsely, the products featured claims that the juice was “produced locally using the freshest quality Apples” and that the juice came “straight from a farm”.
So ‘buyers beware’, nothing is as it seems in the supermarket aisles these days.
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