Australian table grape company fined for misleading consumers about fruit origins

June 22 , 2021

An Australian table grape company that supplies fruit to domestic and international markets is in strife with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for misleading customers about the origins of its product.

Some Grape Co Australia branded grapes are grown on third-party properties, but the company's website claimed every grape was from the family's estate.

It was fined $34,920 for false or misleading representation of grape origins.

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said misleading marketing could erode consumer confidence.

Keogh said terms like "organic", "animal-welfare friendly" and "environmentally friendly" enabled producers to charge a premium and that family farming businesses needed to be considered in the same way.

"It is very important that we send a very clear message that if you're going to make these sorts of claims about your produce, and expect consumers to pay more for it, then make sure you can back it up," he said.

Grape Co Australia's website has now been amended to reflect the true origins of its grapes marketed to consumers.

The ACCC also found the company breached the Horticulture Code by trading without Horticulture Produce Agreements when acting as an agent for grape growers and for failing to prepare, publish and make publicly available a document that set out its terms of trade.

The company was fined $21,600 for infringements relating to breaches of the code.

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