01.ACCC takes Saskia Beer to task over misleading claims
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against Barossa Farm Produce for false or misleading representations and misleading or deceptive conduct in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
The company, owned by Saskia Beer, produces gourmet meat products, including pork, chicken and game, and it’s the black pig smallgoods that have caught the ACCC’s attention.
Black pig breeds, which include Berkshire pigs, are heritage breeds, and their pork is considered a premium meat product. Products also attract a price premium because of claims the pigs are ‘free range’. However, the ACCC determined that representations that the pork used in its “The Black-Pig” smallgoods was from heritage Berkshire pigs, or other heritage black pig breeds; and/or free range pigs were false.
The company's claim that “we know the origin of every animal that makes its way onto the plate” in relation to “The Black-Pig” smallgoods was also ruled misleading, as Barossa Farm Produce did not in fact know the origin of every animal used in those products.
Barossa Farm Produce has agreed that it will not make any representations:
- about the breed or type of pigs used in Black Pig labelled smallgoods, in circumstances where it does not know the breed or type of pigs used; and
- that it knows the origin of every animal used in the production of Black Pig labelled smallgoods, in circumstances where it does not know the origin of every animal used.
The company has also:
- acknowledged that it did not have adequate systems in place to verify the breed or type of pig used in “The Black-Pig” smallgoods;
- agreed to review its compliance systems to ensure such conduct does not reoccur; and
- agreed to publish a corrective notice on its website, and ensure that its current directors attend trade practices compliance training.
If you're concerned about animal welfare and prefer to buy free-range produce, unfortunately there's no legally binding definition of free-range, leaving producers and retailers to come up with their own. Our article on free range pork and turkey explains what animal rearing conditions the different certification schemes require.