Issued 15 January 2003

In a settlement with the Commerce Commission, Phoenix Organics Limited has admitted the labelling of its 275ml Organic Orange, Mango and Apple Juice product was likely to breach the Fair Trading Act and has published a public apology on its website.

Due to problems with the supply of imported organic mango puree in September and October 2003, Phoenix affixed a small label to the back of approximately 100,000 affected bottles, stating that the mango puree was temporarily non-organic. The label covered a BioGro Standard mark.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that despite the fact that Phoenix had made efforts to inform consumers that the mango puree was temporarily non-organic, the main representations made on the front of the product as to the organic nature of the product remained unchanged.

"The overall impression a consumer would have gained from the labelling was that the product met organic standards. Anyone purchasing a bottle from behind a counter at a café, for example, would not even see the back label until the drink had been purchased, and most likely opened."

Ms Battell said that Phoenix had been responsive to the Commission's inquiries into its labelling and had worked quickly to resolve the issue.

"This case nevertheless sends a clear message to all businesses about the importance of ensuring that the claims they make about their products are accurate at all times.

"It is not good enough to continue to claim that a product has special qualities prominently on the front label while contradicting those claims on a back label that consumers may not be able to see.

"It is especially important when consumers are paying a higher price for this special quality," said Ms Battell.


Media contact:

Deborah Battell, Director, Fair Trading Branch

Phone work (04) 924 3760, mobile 029 924 3760


Jackie Maitland, Communications Manager

Phone work (04) 924 3708, mobile 029 924 3708