Hume Import and Export Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Bera Foods, has been fined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for misrepresenting its “Hi Honey” product.
The company marketed the product as Australian honey even though it was predominantly composed of plant sugars and produced in Turkey. Bera Foods has been forced to pay a penalty of $10,200.
“The ACCC was concerned in this case because although “Hi Honey” was labelled as honey, the product was not actually honey produced by honey bees. Honey suppliers must ensure any products they sell as “honey” are in fact produced entirely by honey bees,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a media release.
“Further, the inclusion of a prominent map of Australia on the Hi Honey label may have led consumers to conclude the product was produced in Australia when this was not the case. Credence claims such as this are a priority area for the ACCC, to ensure consumers are given accurate information about the content and origin of products,” Ms Court said.
Bera Foods is the latest honey producer to fall foul of the ACCC for wilfully misleading consumers about its products. In recent months, the ACCC has taken steps against a range of suppliers to ensure products labelled as “honey” are in fact produced by honey bees.
Earlier this year, Basfoods (Aust) Pty Ltd was forced to pay a $30,600 penalty after it was discovered that its “Victoria Honey” brand was also produced in Turkey from corn syrup and cane sugar.
The ACCC undertook all the necessary measures to ensure suppliers of “Sunshine Honey”, “Hecham Honey”, “Brezzo Italian Red Gum Honey”, “Meg Myucku 100% natural honey” and “Golden Honey” ceased supply of the product and withdrew remaining stocks of the product from wholesale customers, because each of these products labelled as honey was not entirely produced by honey bees.
The infringement notice is listed on the public register.