ACCC fines Sydney fruit and veg wholesaler

Consumer watchdog ACCC has penalised the Sydney fruit and vegetable wholesaler, Stuart Dickson Produce Pty Ltd, for allegedly breaching the Horticulture Code.

It’s the first business to pay the fine of A$10,500 infringement. ACCC said it allegedly traded with a grower without a written horticulture produce agreement (HPA). The consumer watchdog conducted a check with 15 fruit and vegetable wholesalers.

“A wholesaler trading with growers without written HPAs increases growers’ commercial risks, as they do not have certainty regarding critical terms of trade, such as how their produce will be graded, the price they will get paid and when they will get paid,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

“Horticulture wholesalers have been required since 2006 to have written agreements in place with growers under the mandatory industry code, and they should be careful to ensure they understand their obligations under the Code. There is no good excuse for not having written agreements in place when this has been a requirement since 2006.”

In Australia, the 2017 Horticulture Code applies to all growers and wholesalers trading in fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts – which has replaced a previous code. HPAs are part of the requirements for businesses in horticulture.

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