Costco fined for mislabelling seafood origin

Costco Wholesale Australia has finished paying fines totaling $33,000 for stating misleading information on the label of its lobster products, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC previously issued Costco with two infringement notices for alleged misleading labelling of the country and place of origin on the seafood and failing to comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard. 

The company sold the lobster packages in early January and stated on the labels that they were ‘Australian lobsters’, while the seafood was actually imported from Canada.

The ACCC stated that Costco used the Australian-made kangaroo logo as well as a full bar chart indicating that the lobsters were exclusively Australian when they were not.

“Selling goods with an incorrect country or place of origin label is a breach of Australian Consumer Law,” said 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.”

Costco is one of the world’s largest retailers and operates warehouse outlets in 13 countries. It currently operates 15 warehouses in Australia.

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