30 Jul 2019

Farmland Foods fined $180,000 for misleading labels

8:56 pm on 30 July 2019

Farmland Foods has been fined $180,000 for misleading consumers into thinking their ham was home grown.

Ham in a thin transparent package.

Photo: 123RF

The company admitted three charges under the Fair Trading Act relating to the labelling on three of its Heritage "Cooked on the Bone" products.

The labelling made claims such as "100 percent NZ owned, Farmland fresh, made in the country", and "Gluten Free Produced in New Zealand."

The Commerce Commission said these labels gave the impression that the pigs were reared in New Zealand, but 87 percent of the meat was imported.

Commission chair Anna Rawlings said country of origin claims were hard for consumers to verify, and businesses must ensure their claims aren't misleading.

Farmland Foods managing director Eddie Davis said the company accepted the sentence and apologised.

"We're sorry this has happened and want to apologise to anyone potentially affected by this issue."

He said they've undertaken an internal review of the package design processes, and will update packaging to ensure it meets the Consumer Information Standards.

"This includes our full commitment to the new Consumers' Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Act so people can continue to have confidence when buying our products."

Mr Davis said they were pleased the judge recognised the company's reputation for trading with integrity.