Over the past 2 years HSI has been corresponding with David Jones over the misrepresentation of pork products sold through their flagship Sydney store. David Jones is continuing to brand pork as ‘free range’ knowing full well that they are misrepresenting production method.
Although we have repeatedly approached David Jones and sought intervention by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for false and misleading representation of products, they continue to deceive consumers. David Jones is taking advantage of the growing number of consumers who are seeking welfare friendly food and are prepared to pay extra. They have obviously identified that consumers are looking for free range product, but rather than finding the real McCoy, they are just mislabelling existing non free range product and charging the extra.
In a surprising response to media enquiries about the mislabelling of it’s ‘free range’ pork in their flagship Sydney store, David Jones has responded with the following:
"As there is no law or standard governing the use of the terms "free range" or "bred free range", David Jones is fully compliant with its legal obligations. This is a matter for the regulators."
General Manager - Public Relations
This is certainly an eye opener for their customers! David Jones acknowledges that as there is no law governing terms used for meat production they can and will continue to deceive. And they are certainly not shy at charging premium prices with pork costing up to twice as much as the local supermarket.
“Consumers want and have the right to make informed decisions about the animal-derived food products that they are purchasing,” said HSI Director, Verna Simpson. “However, instead they are met with a suite of confusing, poorly defined and unregulated terms which producers and retailers are able to use and misuse at will.”
A labelling overhaul is overdue. HSI is calling for a national and mandatory labelling scheme for the method of production of all meat, eggs and dairy products, that only permits the use of a limited number of legally defined and regulated animal-welfare descriptors.
The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, comprising Ministers responsible for food and health issues are currently reviewing food labelling laws and policy. They have already had over 6000 written submissions and a series of public consultations, and the message is loud and clear. The Australian public has the right and the desire to know what they are buying. They are intelligent enough to decide their own ethics and make purchasing decisions on that basis.
Without Truth in Labelling it is not possible to make these informed purchasing decisions and it is time for Government and industry to catch up.
Contact: Verna Simpson, HSI Director, 02 9973 1728