Grape Co Australia has been fined $34,920 by Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for making false and misleading representations on grape origins and breaching the Horticulture Code.
In a statement on its website, Victorian table grape traders said: “Every single one of our grapes is personally hand-selected from the finest fruit on our family’s estate in Sunraysia Australia.”
The statement later was found false and misleading under the Australian Consumer Law as it implied all grapes of Grape Co are grown in the family estate, however some of them are grown on third-party growers’ properties.
“Food producers must ensure they do not mislead consumers with marketing statements about the place of origin of goods or produce,” said Mick Keogh, deputy chair of ACCC. “This not only impacts consumers, but can also prevent other businesses who are careful about being accurate in their marketing from competing on a level playing field.
“Consumers looking to support small businesses may make purchasing decisions based on representations that the produce is sourced from a family farm, and it is important they are not misled so they get what they pay for.”
The company has also been alleged of breaching The Horticulture Code as it traded without written Horticulture Produce Agreements when acting as an agent for grape growers, and failed to prepare, publish and make publicly available its terms of trade.
“Terms of trade allow growers to understand the services and aspects of trading provided by different traders, so that growers can make an informed decision as to who they wish to supply produce to,” said Keogh.