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Lactalis penalised for Dairy Code breaches

(Source: Bigstock)

Australia’s leading dairy processor Lactalis Australia has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay $950,000 in penalties for contravening the Dairy Code of Conduct.

The Dairy Code, which came into effect in January 2020, helps dairy farmers make informed choices about where they want to sell their milk, ensuring transparency in pricing agreements.

Lactalis failed to meet some of its obligations in relation to the 2020-21 milk season and breached the code by “failing to publish its milk supply agreements” on its website.

Farmers were also required to sign up to receive their milk supply agreements by email.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair, Mick Keogh, said Lactalis’ conduct would “reduce transparency” in the industry and serve to perpetuate “systemic bargaining power imbalances” between processors and farmers.

“These were the first contested proceedings under the Dairy Code and the outcome is an ongoing reminder that processors who fail to comply with the code may face significant penalties.”

Keogh said the ACCC wants to ensure that small businesses receive the protections that they are entitled to under industry codes.

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