tsk tsk!!! Shame on food producers who do this!
Australia’s largest producer of small goods has been slapped with a record fine for labelling 100 tonnes of bacon from overseas as “Product of Australia”.
Primo SmallGoods meat processing plant in Chullora, in Sydney’s west, is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Its abattoir in Port Wakefield, South Australia processes more than 10,000 pigs a week for domestic and overseas markets. On Wednesday, a magistrate in Sydney’s Downing Centre Court handed down a fine of $237,575 to Primo plus $200,000 in costs for mislabelling Danish and Canadian bacon products as Australian. NSW Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said irrespective of the origin of the meat consumers should get what they pay for.
“There is no suggestion there was anything wrong with the product in terms of health,” Mr Whan told reporters. “This $237,000 fine represents a very welcome decision by a court to enforce the right that NSW consumers have to know that when something is labelled as a product of Australia it is a product of Australia.” Food Authority enforcement manager Christine Tumney said the authority was tipped off in January 2008 about labelling practices, leading to an investigation into a number of packaging companies but only Primo was found to be engaged in wrongdoing.
“This amount is the highest fine that we’ve had in our history of prosecutions,” Ms Tumney told journalists. The overseas pork products were labelled as “Product of Australia” and “Meat content 100% Australian”. Ms Tumney said it was up to debate if Primo gained a financial advantage over the practice. “Some would argue that case,” she said. “We would be of the opinion that there is always a market advantage for labelling something as `Product of Australia’.” Primo pleaded guilty prior to the court’s Wednesday decision. The court also noted that once the authority alerted Primo to the mislabelling in January, 17 2008 the practice continued after that date.