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Birds Eye forced to remove “Made in Australia”

Lucy Dean
·3-min read
Birds eye Fish Fingers, Oven Bake fish products.
Birds Eye, which sells frozen fish products, will change several labels after the ACCC raised concerns. Images: Birds Eye, Getty

Dozens of Birds Eye’s crumbed and fried frozen fish products will no longer have the “Made in Australia” label after the consumer watchdog found it was misleading.

Simplot Australia, which owns Birds Eye, Neptune, I&J and one home brand product, has changed the origin label on 31 products from “Made in Australia” to “Packed in Australia” after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found the crumbing, slicing and par-frying of the frozen fish didn’t satisfy the label.

In order to qualify as having been made in Australia, the food product needs to have been “substantially transformed”, but the ACCC said Simplot’s products did not differ fundamentally from the imported goods.

“Processes that only change the form or appearance of imported ingredients or components no longer qualify as substantial transformation,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

“Country of origin labels are designed to inform consumers, some of whom may be willing to pay a premium for products they think are made in a particular country, especially Australia.”

Continuing, Keogh said while this sort of labelling can “wrongly influence” consumers into making the purchase, it also gives the brand a competitive advantage.

“We are pleased that Simplot co-operated with the ACCC investigation and agreed to make changes to its labelling, and on this basis we decided to resolve this matter administratively without taking enforcement action.”

Products manufactured after 31 October will have the new “Packed in Australia” label, but some stock with the old label may still be in store until they sell out.

Simplot said it arrived at the decision to change the label after consulting with the ACCC, and said the decision to use fish farmed in foreign countries was due to Australia’s topography and relative lack of fish.

“Simplot procures sustainable seafood from the best fishing areas in the world. Then at our Kelso plant, we shape it into uniformed sizes, coat, par fry, freeze and package it ready for distribution to our customers. All of this using Australian labour and operated within the high demands of Australian food safety and quality standards.”

What products are changing labels?

You can expect a new label on these products:

Birds Eye

Birds Eye Barramundi 270g

Birds Eye Crumbed Portions 1.5kg

Birds Eye Deep Sea Dory 425g

Birds Eye Deli Lightly Crumbed Lemon & Pepper 225g

Birds Eye Fish Battered 425g

Birds Eye Flathead 270g

Birds Eye Deli Lemon Lime & Herb 260g

Birds Eye Chunky Fish Fingers 400g

Birds Eye Fish Fingers 375g

Birds Eye Fish Fingers 1kg

Birds Eye Fish Fingers Fillet 1.5kg

Birds Eye Oven Bake Barramundi Battered 270g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Fish Battered 425g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Rosemary & Garlic 425g

Birds Eye Whiting Cracked Pepper Blend & Sea Salt Crumb 250g

Birds Eye Sth Blue Whiting 425g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Fish Herb & Garlic 425g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Original Crumb 1kg

Birds Eye Oven Bake Herb & Garlic Crumb 425g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Fish Lemon Crumb 425g

Birds Eye Whiting 1kg

Birds Eye Oven Bake Fish Lemon Pepper 425g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Fish Original Crumb 425g

Birds Eye Oven Bake Fish Tempura 425g

Birds Eye Light Crumb Murray River Salt 225g

Neptune

Neptune Fish Fingers 1kg

I&J

I&J Tempura Batter 550g

I&J Fish Fingers 800g

I&J Beer Batter 550g

I&J Beer Batter 1030g

Aldi

Aldi Ocean Royale Tempura Fish Fillets 425g

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