Offaly’s Cuisine Royale Investigated

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims Offaly-based Cuisine Royale supplied frozen bread to Australian supermarket chain Coles. It claims Coles subsequently relabelled its gourmet bread “freshly baked in-store” when in fact it was actually made in the Offaly plant.

This afternoon the ACCC instituted legal proceedings against Coles in the Australian Federal Court for “false, misleading and deceptive conduct” in the supply of bread that was partially baked and frozen in Ireland, transported to Coles stores and “finished” in-store.

The legal action covers various Coles Bakery and Co Offaly-based Cuisine Royale branded bread products, the ACCC said in a statement.

The ACCC alleges that labels on par-baked products stating “baked today, sold today” and in some cases “freshly baked in-store”, were likely to mislead consumers into thinking the bread was prepared from scratch in Coles’ in-house bakeries on the day it was offered for sale.

Coles operates 749 supermarkets in Australia. At least 625 of these supermarkets contain an in-store bakery, the ACCC said.

A spokeswoman from Coles said the company intended to “vigorously defend” the action brought against it by the ACCC. “Coles has only just become aware of the ACCC legal action and will fully examine the ACCC statement before making any further comment,” she said.

The ACCC is seeking an injunction and pecuniary penalties against Coles, as well as orders that Coles review its compliance programme and publish corrective notices on its website and in supermarkets.The case has been filed in the Melbourne Federal Court’s fast track list with the first appearance listed for August 13th.