Australian consumers are being tricked into buying foreign produce from China and the Netherlands because the labels claim the food is home-grown.
According to the Courier Mail, several frozen vegetable products are being sold as "Made in Australia." The shady move has helped frozen food importers reach record levels of sales, much to the chagrin of Australian farmers.
An AUSVEG report found there was a AU$63 million increase in the vegetable importation trade deficit during the past 12 months. In total, more than $650 million in vegetables was imported from October 2010 to November 2011.
"If the labeling was clear, some people would not buy that particular product because it's imported," said Christopher Zinn, an associate at Australian consumer watchdog Choice. A representative from Coles, an Australian supermarket, agreed.
Similar issues exist in the United States. For example, Hawaiian coffee growers recently sued Safeway for insinuating its coffee product was a Hawaiian blend, when in fact only 10 percent was made in the state. Product manufacturers should always be on the lookout for ways to differentiate their products from other brands.