ACCC submission - MOO

Yoghurt manufacturer admits “100% ocean plastics” claims misled consumers

South Australian yoghurt manufacturer MOO Premium Foods [1] has agreed to stop using the term “100% ocean plastics” after an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found the company’s use of the term was misleading.

The ACCC announced today that MOO had entered into a court-enforceable undertaking to remove the false or misleading “100% ocean plastics” claims from its marketing materials and to publish corrections on its website and social media accounts for 60 days. [2]

Last December, Ocean debris campaign organisation Tangaroa Blue, through its lawyers the Environmental Defenders Office, complained to the ACCC that MOO and other food manufacturers were misleading using the term “100% ocean plastics”  Decisions on the other companies’ claims are pending. [3]

The ACCC found that since November 2021 MOO claimed its yoghurt tubs are made from “100% ocean plastic”. The watchdog was concerned this gave the impression they were made from plastic waste collected directly from the ocean, when this was not the case. While MOO included disclaimers on the top and back of the packaging, the ACCC considered they were insufficient to overcome the headline representation of ‘100% ocean plastic’.” Commissioner Liza Carver said: “Our investigation revealed that the plastic resin used in the manufacture of MOO’s yoghurt packaging was collected from coastal areas in Malaysia, and not directly from the ocean.” [2]

Tangaroa Blue Foundation CEO Heidi Tait said: “Many people understand the harm that plastics are doing to our marine life and they want to make consumer choices that tackle the problem.

“Companies must not make false or misleading statements about their products’ environmental impacts to get a competitive advantage and increase their profits.

“While MOO did qualify its statements, the overall effect was to mislead consumers. If you need to add asterixis all over your product to explain one-line marketing claims, you are opening yourself up to greenwashing complaints.”

EDO Managing Lawyer Kirsty Ruddock said: “We welcome the ACCC’s ruling and MOO’s undertaking to correct the record.

“This case should serve as a signal warning to other companies that may be considering misrepresenting the environmental impacts of their products to  boost profits.”

REFERENCES

[1] MOO Premium Foods Pty Ltd website.

[2] MOO Premium Foods gives undertaking after ACCC investigates ‘ocean plastic’ claims, ACCC Media Release, 28-11-23.

[3] Complaint about misleading Ocean Plastic labelling, 16-12-22, EDO on behalf of Tangaroa Blue.

MEDIA CONTACT

EDO | James Tremain | 0419 272 254

ABOUT TANGAROA BLUE

Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris: one of the major environmental issues worldwide. Learn more.

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