SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food, Beverage & Supplement Development - Asia PacificEU edition | US edition

Headlines > Policy

Australia

Company fined for selling honey that does not come from bees

Post a commentBy RJ Whitehead , 25-Jun-2014

Company fined for sellign honey that does not come from bees

An Australian company has been fined after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for misleading consumers with a brand of honey that was mainly comprised of sugars derived from plants.

Melbourne-based Basfoods, a distributor of Mediterranean food products, has been forced to pay penalties totalling A$30,600 (US$28,670) after the ACCC found that its Victoria Honey was neither honey nor was it made in the state. 

Plant honey

The company had suggested through its marketing and labelling that the honey been been produced by honey bees, when in actual fact it was mostly made sugars from plants including corn and sugar cane.

Moreover, the ACCC also considered that by naming and labelling its product “Victoria Honey”, Basfoods had represented the product as originating from Australia when it was really a product of Turkey.

The three infringement notices were issued to Basfoods because the ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe that the labelling of Victoria Honey and Basfoods’ website contained false or misleading representations about the composition and place of origin of Victoria Honey, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

Basfoods has since admitted that its conduct contravened the law, and has undertaken only to sell a product as honey if it is entirely produced by honey bees, and to regularly test its products, including honey. Basfoods will also publish a range of corrective notices.

It is difficult for consumers to test claims by traders that a certain product is actually honey or is from a certain place of origin,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Tip of the iceberg

False claims like this not only mislead consumers but can also harm competing honey suppliers, particularly those who source honey locally within Australia.

The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council has recently complained about five other suppliers, which it says have been importing honey from Turkey, Italy and Serbia. Independent testing showed the honey contained varying levels of what was most likely to be corn syrup.

Honey suppliers should now be on notice that they must have a basis for selling a product as ‘honey’, which likely should include tests to confirm the product is in fact honey produced entirely by honey bees,” Sims added. 

Basfoods supplied Victoria Honey to independent supermarkets, speciality retailers, online stores, delis, restaurants and cafes, as well as through its own retail stores and via its website.

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Key Industry Events