Costco Slapped with Fine After Mislabelling Seafood Origin

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A retail giant has been penalised $33,000 for mislabelling the origin of its seafood products.

Following an extensive investigation into the company’s supply chain practices, Costco Wholesale Australia Pty Ltd issued two infringement notices by the Australian watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC was triggered to further investigate after receiving several complaints and concerns from environmental organisations revealing that Costco had mislabelled the country of origin for several of its seafood products.

Mick Keogh, ACCC Deputy Chair, noted, “Selling goods with an incorrect country or place of origin label is a breach of Australian Consumer Law.” He added that consumers pay more for purchasing Australian seafood than imported goods and that it needs to be more accurate to label an imported product to be from Australia.

Keogh added that such practices are vital for consumer confidence and ensuring compliance with international trade regulations. In response to the investigation’s results, Costco acknowledged the mislabelling errors and expressed regret for the oversight.

The company has assured the public that it will take immediate steps to rectify the situation and implement stricter controls within its supply chain to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

The watchdog has noticed and called out many other misleading practices, including social media influencers. A staggering 81% of influencer posts have the potential to mislead consumers. The study highlights the lack of transparency and disclosure in influencer marketing, where paid promotions and hidden affiliations can blur the lines between genuine endorsements and advertisements.

The ACCC also issued a stern warning against falling victim to recruitment scams that prey on job seekers with false promises. The regulatory authority highlights the rising concern of fraudulent job advertisements and unethical practices, where scammers exploit the desperation of individuals seeking employment.

Previous deputy ACCC chair Delia Rickard noted, “When job hunting, beware of offers that promise large financial rewards for minimal effort. This may be by repeatedly clicking a button on websites or apps to purchase products and write reviews – these are almost always scams.”

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