The ACCC has welcomed a Federal Court ruling that Nature’s Care Fish Oil 1000 + Vitamin D3 soft gel capsule will not be allowed to be labelled ‘Made in Australia’ under the Australian Consumer Law’s (ACL) Country of Origin labelling provisions.
“The ACCC is pleased that the approach of the Federal Court is consistent with the guidance the ACCC has given industry about country of origin labelling,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
ACCC’s guidance was released after new laws was passed by the Parliament that changed the criteria for companies to claim the ‘Made in Australia’ label. Earlier this year, the vitamin manufacturer had applied to renew its licence from the Australian Made Campaign Limited (AMCL) so it could continue to use the ‘Made in Australia’ kangaroo logo for its Fish Oil 1000 + Vitamin D3 soft gel capsule product.
AMCL oversees the licensing for the ‘Made in Australia’ kangaroo logo and rejected Nature’s Care’s licence renewal application. Nature’s Care filed proceedings in the Federal Court stating that its Fish Oil 1000 + Vitamin D3 product was last ‘substantially transformed’ in Australia. The vitamin company believed this allows the fish oil product to be labelled ‘Made in Australia’ despite containing primarily imported ingredients.
“What constitutes ‘substantial transformation’ under the law will vary depending on the product. Because of this, the ‘substantial transformation’ test can be complex and, at times, technical to apply. We are pleased that the court has clarified this aspect of the law so that businesses can more confidently determine whether they can make country of origin claims about their products,” Keogh said.
“Country of Origin representations can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses, as many consumers are willing to pay extra for Australian made products. The ACCC will take action to maintain consumer confidence in labels claiming that products are Australian made.”
Nature’s Care Fish Oil 1000 + Vitamin D3 product is encapsulated in Australia using fish oil and Vitamin D that are sourced overseas. The product is sold under a ‘Made in Australia’ kangaroo logo licence, which expires on 31 December 2018.
ACCC said it provided evidence to support its view that is consistent with its published guidance, encapsulation and the addition of a vitamin should not be considered a ‘substantial transformation’ of the imported ingredients.