Costco Wholesale Australia has paid penalties totalling $33,000 for alleged misleading lobster country of origin claims.
The ACCC previously issued Costco with two infringement notices for alleged false or misleading labelling of the country and place of origin on lobster products and failing to comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard.
In early January 2023, Costco sold two packages of lobsters from its Casuarina warehouse in Western Australia. They were labelled ‘Kirkland Signature Previously Frozen Whole Cooked WA Lobster’ and ‘Australian Lobster’. Other packages were also displayed for sale with the allegedly misleading labels. The lobsters were actually imported from Canada.
The ACCC also alleges that Costco didn’t comply with the specific Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard because it used the Australian-made kangaroo logo as well as a full bar chart indicating that the lobsters were exclusively Australian when they weren’t.
“Selling goods with an incorrect country or place of origin label is a breach of Australian Consumer Law,” says ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh.
“Many shoppers pay a premium to purchase Australian seafood rather than imported products, which makes the accuracy of the labelling a crucial part of enabling consumers to make an informed choice.
“While a small number of consumers were impacted in this instance, this conduct involved a large and sophisticated business.
“This action by the ACCC is a reminder to all businesses, large or small, of the importance of ensuring that country of origin labelling is accurate and complies with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard.”