Media Release

ACCC hits the sweet spot with fake honey decision

24 June 2014

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the decisive action of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) resulting in Basfoods Australia paying $30,600 in penalties for importing sugar syrup falsely labelled as honey.

Minister Joyce said the fines and other enforceable undertakings such as corrective notices and removal of misleading stock from supermarket shelves demonstrated the powers of Australia’s strong consumer law system and the penalties which could result from breaches of that system.

"Australia has laws in place to protect consumers from false or misleading claims about the quality, standard or origin of a product," Minister Joyce said.

"Sugar syrup from Turkey, sold to consumers as 'Victoria Honey', seems to me, and to the ACCC, as a breach of those laws. Not only did it mislead consumers about the content of the honey, but also about where it was from.

"The penalties imposed on Basfoods send a clear message to anyone intending to break the law that there are consequences.

"Australian honey producers can also be relieved that they are no longer competing with this misleading product being sold illegally on our supermarket shelves.

"The Australian Government works in partnership with industry and state governments to ensure Australian consumers can trust the product they choose meets Australia’s high food safety standards and is appropriately labelled.

"I thank the Australian honey bee industry for raising these concerns, and the Victorian Government for arranging the product testing, which enabled the ACCC to take action in this case," Minister Joyce said.