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Egg Producer penalised for misleading ‘free range’ claims

01 August 2018
Read Time 2 mins reading time

The Federal Court has recently ordered Snowdale Holdings Pty Ltd (Snowdale) to pay penalties totalling $750,000 for making false and misleading representations that its eggs were “free range”.

In May 2016, the Federal Court found that Snowdale’s labelling of its eggs as “free range” between April 2011 and December 2013 was misleading and deceptive. The Court reached this finding on the basis that most of the hens from Snowdale’s sheds did not go outside, as the farming conditions significantly inhibited them from doing so.

The Court also ordered Snowdale not to use the words “free range” in relation to its eggs unless they are produced by hens that are able to go outside on ordinary days, and most of which actually go outside on most days. Additionally, Snowdale was ordered to implement a consumer law compliance program and pay a contribution towards the ACCC’s legal costs.

The Federal Court’s decision serves as a timely reminder for traders to ensure that all claims made in their advertising and promotional materials are accurate and not misleading. As demonstrated above, substantial penalties may be imposed on businesses that fail to comply with their obligations under the ACL.

We have seen and helped businesses respond to many ACCC questions about credence and advertising claims. For further information on how Macpherson Kelley can assist your business in this area, please contact us.

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Egg Producer penalised for misleading ‘free range’ claims

01 August 2018

The Federal Court has recently ordered Snowdale Holdings Pty Ltd (Snowdale) to pay penalties totalling $750,000 for making false and misleading representations that its eggs were “free range”.

In May 2016, the Federal Court found that Snowdale’s labelling of its eggs as “free range” between April 2011 and December 2013 was misleading and deceptive. The Court reached this finding on the basis that most of the hens from Snowdale’s sheds did not go outside, as the farming conditions significantly inhibited them from doing so.

The Court also ordered Snowdale not to use the words “free range” in relation to its eggs unless they are produced by hens that are able to go outside on ordinary days, and most of which actually go outside on most days. Additionally, Snowdale was ordered to implement a consumer law compliance program and pay a contribution towards the ACCC’s legal costs.

The Federal Court’s decision serves as a timely reminder for traders to ensure that all claims made in their advertising and promotional materials are accurate and not misleading. As demonstrated above, substantial penalties may be imposed on businesses that fail to comply with their obligations under the ACL.

We have seen and helped businesses respond to many ACCC questions about credence and advertising claims. For further information on how Macpherson Kelley can assist your business in this area, please contact us.