Coast health shop fined $7.5k over alleged false claims
A GOLD Coast wellness business sold glucose powder claiming it was a dietary fibre supplement inulin and made misleading health claims on the label, a court was told.
But Kapow Nutritionals director Jason Fava said he had sourced the powder from China and had been assured it was inulin.
Mr Fava said the health claims were a symptom of the industry.
He said he made changes to the labels as soon as alerted.
Kapow Nutritionals trades under the name Purewellness and has stores in Nerang and Palm Beach.
Mr Fava, on behalf of Kapow Nutritionals, pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday to selling food that is packaged or labelled in a way that falsely describes the food and to selling or advertising food that is packaged or labelled in a way that contravenes the food standards code.
Magistrate Kerry Magee fined the company $7500 and ordered it pay $2000 in legal costs.
"I have taken into account that you were unaware the product was mislabelled and there was nothing about the product that would alert you to it not being the product it contained," she said.
Magistrate Magee said it was concerning some product labels had misleading health claims and others were missing nutritional panels or used-by dates.
"Persons purchasing the product need to know when it is safe to consume that product," she said.
The court was told some labels also made claims it could eliminate free radicals and help maintain a neutral pH.
Barrister Alistair Smith, who was prosecuting the matter on behalf of the Department of Health, said the mislabelling was found during an inspection on March 13 last year.
It related to a range of products for sale at the Nerang store, including protein powder, seeds and couscous.
He said the products did not have the correct labelling despite the company being warned in April and July 2018.
Mr Smith told the court the maximum penalty for a corporation for the two offences was more than $52,000.
Outside of court, Mr Fava told the Bulletin: "Don't import from China."
The nutrition shop owner represented himself in court and said he sold more than 12,000 products.
Mr Fava told the court he had imported the inulin from China believing it was the product.
He was shocked when laboratory tests confirmed it was glucose powder.
"The matter has been rectified and I am now purchasing locally at five times the price and that is from a very large company," he said.
"There is no way this could happen again."
Mr Fava said he had introduced a new labelling system to ensure the nutritional information and best before dates were included.
He said the health claims had been removed.