Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Thousands of dozens of "free range" eggs weren't

Media Release

Issued 14 March 2001/25

Thousands of dozens of "free range" eggs were from battery hens: Weedons Poultry Farm fined $35,000

Misleading claims that eggs were "free range", when they really came from battery hens kept in cages, cost Weedons Poultry Farm a $35,000 fine in the Christchurch District Court today.

Over 22,000 dozen "free range" eggs were sold through Christchurch supermarkets under the "Bowenvale Valley" brand during a 12 month period. The vast majority of these, in fact, had come from battery hens.

The Commerce Commission prosecuted Weedons Poultry for breaching the Fair Trading Act, which prohibits misleading conduct in relation to goods.

Commission Chair John Belgrave said that consumers must be able to rely on claims made about food because they cannot test the claims themselves.

"Growing numbers of consumers are prepared to pay considerably more for free range eggs because of views about the quality of the eggs and animal welfare," Mr Belgrave said. "Consumers paid more but did not get what they paid for."

Weedons Poultry doubled the price of its eggs when it marketed them to supermarkets as "free range". Supermarkets paid $3.50 a dozen, rather than $1.75, when told that Bowenvale Valley were free range eggs.

Analysis of the company's invoices showed that the additional profit made by the company from its deception was approximately $32,400.

During an interview with Commission staff, the company admitted that it had labelled eggs from battery hens as "free range". The company also produced a letter from its solicitor acknowledging that it had been at fault in marketing Bowenvale Valley eggs as "free range".

In explaining its marketing, the company stated that it had extreme difficulty trading against other competitors who had lowered their prices. It found that there was a demand for "free range" eggs and took advantage of that demand.

"This was a totally unacceptable response to competition," Mr Belgrave said. "It is an example of how misleading claims lead to consumers paying more and competitors being disadvantaged. Consumers who bought Bowenvale Valley eggs in the mistaken belief that they were free range, could instead have bought other brands."

In passing sentence, Judge Kean said that this was a deliberate and a clear cut case of deception, in trade, designed to con people into buying the product and it proved very successful. It was, he said, a fraud on the public. In addition Judge Kean said that the scam could easily have gone on longer if it had not been detected. The public would have had no way of telling which were genuine free range eggs and which were not. Consequently the sentence had to involve a deterrent aspect.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Industry Report: Growing Interactive Sector Wants Screen Grants

Introducing a coordinated plan that invests in emerging talent and allows interactive media to access existing screen industry programmes would create hundreds of hi-tech and creative industry jobs. More>>

ALSO:

Ground Rules: Government Moves To Protect Best Growing Land

“Continuing to grow food in the volumes and quality we have come to expect depends on the availability of land and the quality of the soil. Once productive land is built on, we can’t use it for food production, which is why we need to act now.” More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society: Calls For Overhaul Of Gene-Technology Regulations

An expert panel considering the implications of new technologies that allow much more controlled and precise ‘editing’ of genes, has concluded it’s time for an overhaul of the regulations and that there’s an urgent need for wide discussion and debate about gene editing... More>>

ALSO:

Retail: Card Spending Dips In July

Seasonally-adjusted electronic card spending dipped in July by 0.1 percent after being flat in June, according to Stats NZ. Economists had expected a 0.5 percent lift, according to the median in a Bloomberg poll. More>>

ALSO:

Product Stewardship: Govt Takes More Action To Reduce Waste

The Government is proposing a new way to deal with environmentally harmful products before they become waste, including plastic packing and bottles, as part of a wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills. More>>

ALSO:

Earnings Update: Fonterra Sees Up To $675m Loss On Writedowns

“While the Co-op’s FY19 underlying earnings range is within the current guidance of 10-15 cents per share, when you take into consideration these likely write-downs, we expect to make a reported loss of $590-675 million this year, which is a 37 to 42 cent loss per share." More>>

ALSO: