Yoghurt Story fined for yoghurt that isn’t yoghurt

Yoghurt Story fined for yoghurt that isn’t yoghurt

Yoghurt Story New Zealand Limited and Frozen Yoghurt Limited have been sentenced and fined in the Auckland District Court for misleading the public about their frozen yoghurt products.All charges were laid under the Fair Trading Act 1986. They relate to promoting frozen yoghurt products that did not contain yoghurt, and for making misleading claims about the product’s health benefits.Judge David Sharp said he would have fined the companies a total of $270,000, but because they are both in liquidation the fine was reduced to $35,000 each.Misleading claimsYoghurt Story made claims on its website about the health benefits of eating frozen yoghurt, including that its product: “Increases your immune system; lowers the risk of subsequent heart disease and diabetes; and prevents infections once your immunity is strong.”When is yoghurt not yoghurt?Judge Sharp agreed with the Commerce Commission, prosecuting, that the Yoghurt Story product was not yoghurt as defined by the Australia New Zealand Food Standard, nor did it have the specific health benefits that were claimed.  It was also not probiotic yoghurt as was claimed.“The defendants’ conduct was a cynical attempt to take advantage of consumers’ desire to make healthier food choices. The defendants themselves considered the product to be more akin to an ice cream product, yet they decided to call their stores ‘Yoghurt Story’ because it was more attractive to consumers than calling it ’Ice Cream Story,” he said. In sentencing, Judge Sharp said that the health claims were a “significant departure from the truth.”“The product simply was not yoghurt. The samples taken showed the product provided rarely met with its description,” he said.The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Food Standards 2002 – Standard 2.5.3 – Fermented Milk Products , states that yoghurt means: fermented milk where the fermentation has been carried out with lactic acid producing micro-organisms.Yoghurt must contain a minimum of 1m colony forming units of bacteria per gram.Product testingSeventeen samples of the Yoghurt Story frozen yoghurt were taken from eight different stores on four different dates. These were tested by Eurofin NZ Laboratory Services Limited in Auckland.Of the 17 samples, 15 did not meet all four criteria as required by the Standard and therefore cannot be defined as ‘yoghurt’ according to the Standard.Commissioner Anna Rawlings said this was an important case for the Commission because consumers rely on provided information when they make decisions about the products they buy.“Where healt…

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