Posted August 5, 2014
Honey that is not Honey….
A correction from Basfoods (Aust) Pty Ltd
Misleading Representations regarding Victoria Honey
From around January 2006 to 6 December 2013, Basfoods (Aust) Pty Ltd (Basfoods) represented on labelling and subsequently on its website that its product labelled “Victoria Honey” was honey produced by honey bees.
Tests conducted in September 2013 by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) found that the sample of the product was comprised predominantly of sugars from C-4 plants, which include corn and sugar cane.
Basfoods also represented to its customers that Victoria, Australia was the place of origin of “Victoria Honey” when the product was from Turkey. Basfoods admits the packaging and advertising of Victoria Honey was likely to mislead or deceive consumers in contravention of sections 18, 29(1)(a), 29(1)(k) and 33 of the Australian Consumer Law as contained in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (cth).
To address the ACCC’s concerns that Basfoods misled its customers, Basfoods has paid three Infringement Notice penalties totalling $30,600 in respect of the conduct and given the ACCC a court-enforceable undertaking (available at www.accc.gov.au). The undertaking requires Basfoods to publish various corrective notices, introduce regular product testing and implement a compliance program. (Personally, I feel this fine is a slap on the wrist, with no real consequences, more needs to be done)
A corrective notice has been placed on the Basfoods website and in the bee journals.
Despite the ACCC fine and the undertaken given to have all Victoria Honey removed off the shelves, a new appearance of Victoria Honey in Brisbane recently has been reported to the ACCC. So if you see Victoria Honey let the ACCC and AHBIC (Australian Honey Bee industry Council) know. If you see any other brands of honey, particularly from Turkey, on the shelves please let AHBIC know.
AHBIC (Australian Honey Bee industry Council) has a further four (4) cases of imported honey from Turkey not being honey and we are told that there are more imports on the way.
We would urge all consumers to keep a look out in fruit shops and service stations for any honey on sale, particularly if it comes from Turkey. The brands which have complaints with ACCC are: – HiHoney, Sunshine Honey, Hecham Honey and Golden Honey.
AHBIC has made requests to the Import Food Section at the Department of Agriculture to have 100% of honey from Turkey checked. Currently only 5% of all imported honey is checked.
AHBIC has also written to the Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, asking him to agenda at the next meeting of Health Ministers the need to enforce the Australian and New Zealand Food Standard 2.8.2. AHBIC argues that it is not good enough to say that it is not a threat to public health therefore nothing will be done. The standard needs to be enforced.
AHBIC has also asked the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, for his assistance in this imported honey issue.
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