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Coles referred to ACCC

Choice Shonkys 2017Coles’ private-label cat food has been referred to the consumer watchdog amid concerns that its branding misleads consumers.

Consumer Group CHOICE has notified the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) of what it believes to be a likelihood that consumers are being tricked into believing Coles’ pet-food is “complete” when it doesn’t meet industry guidelines.

“Pet foods labelled ‘complete’ are designed to provide a balanced diet for your dog or cat and meet the recommended nutritive requirements outlined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials,” CHOICE head of media Tim Godfrey said.

“Although Coles reveals the product is in fact ‘not nutritionally complete’ in the fine print on the back of the tin, we allege consumers who rely on the large ‘complete’ claim on the front of pack to feed their pet are likely to be misled. We have referred the product to the regulator and want to see it pulled from the shelves.”

Coles’ cat food also won one of CHOICE’s ‘shonky’ awards yesterday, an annual ceremony held by the consumer group to highlight what it deems to be the dodgiest products on the market.

Nature’s Way also won a shonky and has been referred to the ACCC over its Vita Gummies product, which CHOICE says claim to be good for teeth but contain high amounts of sugar.

“Featured on TV and attracting a celebrity endorsement, Nature’s Way uses colourful cartoon characters to shout the health benefits of sugar-filled Vita Gummies to children,” said Godfrey.

“It’s a bit rich that this product claims on the front of pack to be good for teeth, when it is little more than a sugary treat which could cause tooth decay.

“We would like to see the claims that the product supports maintenance of health teeth removed, the amount of sugar clearly stated on the pack along with clear warning labels to parents about any potential risks of overconsumption,” he continued.

Other winners of this year’s Shonky awards include Cuddly’s Sensitive Hypoallergenic fabric softener, which CHOICE claims performs worse than water, and Westpac’s Bump Savings account.

Coles has been contacted for comment.

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