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Juice Industry Being Squeezed

2 September 2002

Juice Industry Being Squeezed - Second Prosecution In Less Than A Month

In the second juice industry prosecution by the Commerce Commission in less than a month, Double R Softdrinks was fined $4000 plus costs in the Christchurch District Court today after pleading guilty to 21 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

The prosecution followed an investigation by the Commerce Commission which revealed Double R was making false representations about the nature of is "Citrus Grove" Orange Juice.

Director of Fair Trading, Deborah Battell said that the breaches included claims that the drink contained "100% orange juice" when it contained no more than 45%, and that it was "sweetened by nature" when it had sugar added.

"There were clear misrepresentations by Double R," she said. "Customers were forced to rely on information provided on its labelling, and were misled into buying what was effectively a fruit drink rather than a juice."

"Last month, Rio Beverages was fined $22,600 for breaching the Act, and the Commission is currently investigating ten other juice companies for false or misleading claims as to the nature of their products," she added.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Green said that he had been lenient because of Double R's small size and co-operation throughout the investigation, but added that he would view any further breaches of the Act very seriously.

Background Rio Beverages Limited was fined $22,600 plus court costs in the Auckland District Court last month for five breaches of the Fair Trading Act relating to false and misleading claims about the health benefits of the added Echinacea, and the quantity of blackcurrant juice in its "Thexton's Quality Beverages" range of products.


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