The ACCC says labels on some of Maggie Beer’s products were likely to have misled consumers about where they came from.
Labels on products from food icon Maggie Beer were likely to have misled the public into thinking they came from the Barossa Valley, the consumer watchdog has ruled.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the labels were on Maggie Beer-branded ice-cream, aged red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and rosemary and verjuice biscuits.
They were labelled “Made in Australia” with the Maggie Beer logo and tagline “A Barossa Food Tradition” and “Maggie Beer Products: 2 Keith Street, Tanunda, South Australia”.
The ACCC said the vinegar was manufactured in Queensland, while the other items were manufactured in Victoria.
The ACCC said a consumer would have gained the impression the products were manufactured in Tanunda, the Barossa Valley and/or South Australia.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said consumers were often willing to pay premium prices for local products, and businesses were following consumer demand by stocking local goods.
“The Barossa Valley is a nationally recognised premium food and wine destination, and businesses in that region use place of origin claims to promote or distinguish their product from others in the market,” he said.
“Misleading representations about the origin of products to capitalise on this demand undermines the integrity of credence claims which are relied on by consumers and, equally important, can harm competing producers whose products are made locally.”
The ACCC said Maggie Beer Products gave the impression during an Adelaide supermarket promotion that two of the four items were made in SA or were “local products”.
The same impression was given in correspondence with Woolworths about the four products, the ACCC said.
In a statement, Maggie Beer said four out of 200 of her products were made interstate, but she would modify labels on the whole range.
“I fully support the ACCC’s interpretation on provenance in food labelling,” she said.
“All four of these products originally were made in South Australia but, as Maggie Beer Products grew to supply larger markets, we were unable to find suitable South Australian suppliers for four of our product lines.
“I apologise to anyone who may in the past have been misled in any way.”
The ACCC said the labelling came to its attention independently of another recent investigation into Ms Beer’s daughter Saskia and her company Barossa Farm Produce.