Not so sweet – fake honey furore leaves sour taste

There has been a buzz around town with Australia’s largest listed honey company accused of selling fake honey to Australian consumers.

According to media reports, tests of Capilano’s Allowrie-branded Mixed Blossom Honey, which is made from Australian and overseas honey, showed up as “adulterated”, meaning it had been mixed with something other than honey.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) was used to detect the impurities, however Capilano has denied any issues with its honey and has stated that NMR is a different test to the official Australian test.

By adulterating the product and maintaining the taste and appearance of honey, consumers are being misled about what they are purchasing and eating.

Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), if country of origin or other representations are made about products which are misleading and deceptive, an importer is captured under the requirements of the Act and therefore liable for any breaches. This is because the importer is deemed to be the manufacturer.

Recently the penalties for breaches of the ACL have increased to the greater of $10 million, three times the value of the benefit received, or 10 per cent of annual turnover in the preceding 12 months and $500,000 for individuals.

The ACCC has now launched an investigation into the ‘fake’ honey. We will keep you updated with the outcomes of this investigation as information becomes available.

If you require any advice in relation to food labelling or country of origin claims and compliance with the Australian Consumer Law, please contact Sotheary Bryant for more information.

This article was written by Georgia Davies-Jackson, Lawyer – Commercial.