Sydney company fined for failing to declare dairy
Sydney company, FAL Healthy Beverages Pty Ltd, proved to be anything but after their failure to declare the presence of dairy in their ‘Coco Joy’ brand of flavoured coconut milk drinks.
The company was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay more than $25,000 in professional costs after pleading guilty to seven charges of breaching the Food Act 2003 including failing to declare the presence of milk, falsely labelling their product as dairy free and failing to implement an appropriate food recall plan.
CEO of the NSW Food Authority Dr Lisa Szabo said food allergies were on the rise and one in ten babies born in Australia today will develop a food allergy.
“That statistic alone shows how important this issue is for the entire community,” Dr Szabo said.
“While food allergies can range from being merely unpleasant and inconvenient, sadly in the worst cases they can be fatal.
“This type of offence is of particular concern because it is common for consumers with a dairy allergy to seek out coconut milk products because they can substitute as a dairy free milk alternative.”
A young child in Western Australia with a dairy allergy was hospitalised suffering anaphylaxis after consuming a Coco Joy banana flavoured coconut drink product that was labelled as ‘Dairy Free’.
Dr Szabo said the law requires that a food business engaged in the wholesale, supply, manufacture or importation of food must have a recall plan in place. They must also activate that plan when necessary to ensure the recall of unsafe food.
“FAL Healthy Beverages was slow in effecting an effective recall of its product and did not comply with the requirement of following a recall plan in place that works,” Dr Szabo said.
“We demand a high level of food safety is upheld across the food supply chain because it serves as an important protection measure of public health.
“Consumers deserve to have confidence in knowing the food they purchase is safe to eat and will cause no harm to them or their family.”
In NSW all food businesses are required to provide information about the most common allergens, gluten and sulphites in food through correct labelling and information.
The NSW Food Authority is a key front-line agency that plays a role in educating both industry and consumers when it comes to food allergy and food safety generally.
People can access allergy information and resources from www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au