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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1375 ..

Food Labelling

MR MOORE: On 22 April Ms Tucker asked me this question:

Is the Minister aware that in the ACT Food Act 1992, section 19 prevents action against a company if advertising is misleading on the food label even though it complies with all labelling codes?

She also asked this supplementary question:

Will you please frame your answer around the correspondence that your office received in relation to a constituent having claims against a baby food company.

When a food label complies with the Food Standards Code and provided there is no contradictory information or any statement or pictorial that is false or misleading then no action will be taken under the ACT Food Act. If, however, labels include statements, et cetera, that are false and misleading and the label in other respects complies with the Food Standards Code then legal action is possible under false and misleading provisions under section 19 of the Food Act.

I have been informed by the department that a complaint was received last year about a particular brand of baby food where both scenarios applied. The complaint concerned the following statement: "for children four to six months of age breast milk on its own was not sufficient to meet increased energy needs". Investigation revealed that older stock of the product did include those words which could be construed as false and misleading. However, the product label had already been changed. The expression complained about had changed to "health professionals recommend introducing solids to children around four to six months of age starting with iron enriched rice cereal". Advice received from the Australia New Zealand Food Authority was that the latter label complied with the Food Standards Code and the new statement was not false and misleading. So it has changed.

Ms Tucker: But it is still misleading.

Mr Humphries: Not according to ANZFA.

MR MOORE: I do not think it is.


MR STEFANIAK: Mr Hargreaves asked me a question on 20 April 1999 in relation to what football fields may be withdrawn to enable SOCOG to conduct training prior to the Olympics.

The ACT Government has entered into a memorandum of understanding with SOCOG in relation to the provision of soccer facilities for Olympic competition and training. That relationship is being managed by the Chief Minister's Department.

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