A Shonky win and a referral to the competition watchdog has prompted Coles to clean up the packaging of its Complete Cuisine cat food.
CHOICE gave Coles a Shonky award in early October for branding
its cat food as 'complete' in large font on the front of its can.
Shoppers in a rush could easily assume it would be nutritionally complete food for their beloved pet, unless they studied the fine print on the back of the can, which confirms it's too low in fat to qualify as a complete meal.
The product has since been referred to the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission for allegedly breaching consumer law.
"Pet foods labelled 'complete' are designed to provide a balanced diet for
your dog or cat and meet the recommended nutritive requirements outlined by
the Association of American Feed Control Officials," says Tom Godfrey, head of media at CHOICE.
"We allege consumers who rely on the large 'complete' claim on the front of
pack to feed their pet are likely to be misled. We have referred the
product to the regulator and want to see it pulled from the shelves."
Coles has since confirmed it's removed the word 'complete' from the cat food's
"Coles commenced re-labelling this product over a year ago," a spokesperson
tells CHOICE. "Our re-labelling process involved removing 'complete' from the
label to help reinforce that this product is a complementary food.
"The label on the back of the product always stated that the product should
be fed with dry cat food for a complete meal," they add.
The spokesperson did not elaborate on why the relabelling process has taken more
than a year.
Coles supermarkets were still selling the cat food with the branding "complete" as of late September, though the company has since removed them