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ACCC targets misleading organic claims

Dreamz Pty Ltd, trading as GAIA Skin Naturals (GAIA), has paid $37,800 in penalties for alleged false or misleading representations after the ACCC issued three infringement notices.

GAIA described its Natural Baby Bath & Body Wash, Baby Shampoo and Baby Moisturiser as “Pure ★ Natural ★ Organic”. However, these products contain two synthetic chemical preservatives: sodium hydroxyl methyl glycinate and phenoxyethanol.

“Businesses making organic claims must be able to substantiate those claims. GAIA’s claims may have misled consumers into thinking these products are free from synthetic chemicals when they are not,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

This enforcement outcome with GAIA forms part of broader work by the ACCC relating to organic representations. Acting on information from stakeholders, the ACCC has assessed the use of organic claims across a range of businesses and products.

As part of this work, the ACCC identified concerns with a small number of Naturis Organic Breads’ products which do not contain synthetic chemicals or preservatives but contain a mix of organic and non-organic ingredients. In response to these concerns, Naturis has amended its website and the relevant product labels.

Certification is not legally required for a product supplied in Australia to be described as organic. However, where a company describes its product as organic, it must ensure that representation is not false, misleading or deceptive.