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The Federal Court speaks! Recent case provides food industry with clearer guidance on the Trade Practices Act

Published: 16 Dec 2009

By Joe Lederman and Charles Fisher
FoodLegal Lawyers and Consultants
© Lawmedia Pty Ltd, December 2009/January 2010

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On 13 November 2009, Justice Buchanan of the Federal Court of Australia handed down his decision in the case Unilever Australia Ltd v Goodman Fielder Consumer Foods Pty Ltd. This case provides detailed discussion and concrete examples of when an Australian court can find the labelling and marketing claims on a food product to be false, misleading or deceptive, in breach of Part V of the Trade Practices Act. This article discusses the case’s impact on legal issues such as health claims, puffery, usage of certified logos, implied comparative claims, use of disclaimers, consideration of the overall impression and the possible use of injunctions as a legal weapon. The outcomes and examples from this case ought to be considered by everyone responsible for the marketing and labelling of food products.

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