Vineyard caught over false organic claimsBy Lauren Eads
An Australian vineyard is being pursued by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture after it falsely claimed to be a certified organic producer.
The NASAA, responsible for certifying companies as organic, said it never approved Kings Court Vineyards in Victoria as organic and that it had been fraudulently claiming organic status, as reported by Food Magazine Australia.
The authority has since won an injunction from the Australian Federal Court preventing the grower from labelling its produce as organic.
A statement released by (NASAA) said its was committed to truth in labelling and would be seeking costs against the vineyards’ operators, Zeno and Duran Ayhan.
Ben Copeman, NASAA general manager said: “We are prepared to take similar action to protect our integrity, certification process and brand against any business claiming to be certified organic when it is not.
“This case is not only about NASAA protecting its brand and reputation but also about defending the brand value and integrity of our certified operators.
“Our certified operators spend many thousands of dollars to maintain their certification, perfect their organic products and grow their brands and images. Certified organic produce commands a premium from consumers who choose to eat food that is free of synthetic fertiliser and pesticide residues, or genetically modified organisms. That premium only exists, however, if the consumer can trust the integrity of the organic label.”
According to reports, it was a number of organic wholesalers in Sydney and Melbourne who tipped off NASAA that Kings Court Vineyards was claiming to be certified organic.
Zeno and Duran Ayhan have been banned from claiming organic status, pending an authentic certification, and ordered to destroy any fraudulent documentation claiming to be NASAA certified organic.