DUCK THIS: ACCC Is Coming After Another Duck Meat Company

Does Luv-a-Duck really love its ducks?

The Victorian company has become the second Australian duck meat supplier lined up for a tarring and feathering by Australia’s consumer watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched proceedings in the Federal Court over claims the company made on its packing, website and brochures.

The ACCC alleges that Luv-a-duck’s claims that its birds were “grown and grain fed in the spacious Victorian Wimmera Wheatlands,”and were all “range reared and grain fed,” are not quite on the money.

Luv-a-Duck denies it did anything wrong.

“Luv-a-Duck does not accept the ACCC’s allegations and believes the alleged offending statements are statements of fact and are not misleading or deceptive, nor are they likely to mislead consumers,” the company said.

While the birds’ sheds may be where the company says that they are, the ACCC said that the duck meat products sold by Luv-a-Duck were processed from animals that did not in fact, get to bask in the great outdoors.

Luv-a-Duck is not the first duck meat supplier to fall foul of the ACCC. On 19 December last year Pepe’s Duck’s, which at the time had around 40% market share was ordered to pay $400,000 for false, misleading and deceptive conduct.

Pepe’s Ducks used the phrase “open range” from 2004 to 2012 and the phrase “grown nature’s way” from 2007 to 2012 on its product packaging, website, delivery vehicles, signage, stationery and merchandise, often in conjunction with a pictures of a duck in the outdoors, walking on grass against a background of a lake with hills, which the ACCC decided was not quite right.

Hall and Wilcox partner Sally Scott told SmartCompany the ACCC was cracking down on these types of cases, known as “credence claims”.

Scott told SmartCompany that businesses can “fall into a trap” of making these kind of claims by stretching the truth when trying to justify higher pricing or increase demand.

“As pressures continue to mount in the retail space, we are likely to continue to see businesses making claims aimed at enabling them to charge higher prices or aimed at increasing demand.

“Businesses must realise that while a certain amount of puffery is permitted when promoting a product, once a claim steps over the line and is misleading, businesses are at risk of ACCC action for misleading conduct,” she said.

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