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Misleading Package Descriptions

Posted by Lorna 
Misleading Package Descriptions
December 10, 2004 08:14PM
Recently I purchased 3 Dolmio individual frozen meals (handy for work lunches). On all of them, in good size bold print on front and same size but finer print on the back, it states 'ONLY 3% FAT'. Well, yes, 3% per 100gr, but the single serve meal weighs 340gr. True, the nutrition information panel does tell you the total fats are 10.2% per serving, but I still think the front & back panels are mis-leading.

Secondly, one of the meals is Cannelloni (is this plural? What's the singular? Where are you Georgio?) The picture on the front clearly depicts 2 canelloni on a plate. But you've guessed it; upon opening there is only 1 piece inside. Again, misleading in my opinion.

Regarding the fat content, I wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority who wrote back telling me that as it was food packaging, it was not their responsibility and I should contact the Food Safety Authority. I did this, and back came the answer I should contact the Health Protection Office at my local District Health Board. Talk about being given the run-around. So I emailed Dolmio with my thoughts and all I got was an automated reply thanking me for my input.

I haven't yet done anything about the misleading picture; I'm beginning to think that no-one in authority really cares. If the Advertising Standards Authority and the Food Safety Authority are unwilling to do what their names suggest, who do we turn to? Somehow a local DHB doesn't seem to have the same sort of clout as a national authority should. No wonder these companies can get away with this sort of advertising.
Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 10, 2004 08:30PM
Firstly, good on you for actually taking the time to let your thoughts be known to the authorties. Pity, that you're getting the run around, and sorry I don't know who to go to next. Perhaps Fair Go?? I know they've finished for the year, so you may not get a speedy response to your problem.

Good luck with getting some results. I just don't (or should that be won't) buy foods like that, as I'm just a bit paranoid about the "extras" which are in some of our pre-packaged foods.

Raewyn G
Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 10, 2004 09:15PM
Another thing on packaging that annoys me is:
"May contain............."
"May have traces of ..........." and some limp excuse about their machinery is used for this or that preparation.
Where are their cleaning proceedures and why would traces of anything be allowed to sneek in? HELLO!!!!! do they think we are stupid or something.
How does Andrew get on with things like this, unless he has some seeing eyes with him in the supermarket?
We are getting the run around alright!!!!!!

Lorna, have a go with Fair Go, then we can all see you on the tele!:}
Do remember they (Fair Go) did have a field day with McCains and one other with the Lasagne........remember????

I'm a great supporter of "COMPLAIN AND WIN!!!!!"
All the best,

Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 11, 2004 12:03AM
Lorna - you may already be aware of this but if you ring your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau (I know you're in the Coromandel so don't know where that would be exactly) they have a hotline to the Consumer's Institute (never given out to the public) whereby they get in touch with a consumer lawyer with queries like your own - I used to work for the CAB and I am sure that hasn't changed. The lawyer will advise where to take a particular complaint - in respect of what you describe it sounds like false advertising, particularly the misleading picture of two canelloni when in fact the box contains only one - it could be a matter for the Fair Trading people to be involved.

Probably worth a try as the other avenues seem to have run out!!

I'm with you 100% - we SHOULD stand up for our rights - sometimes when I have had a problem with exchange of goods etc I have only needed to be knowledgeable about the Consumers Guarantees Act and instant action is usually forthcoming!!

Good luck!

Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 11, 2004 12:12AM
I will not buy alot of preprepared food because of this. The taste is usually disappointing and it does not give me the craving satisfaction I am after!!
Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 11, 2004 01:03AM
I'm with you there Lorna. When it say's it may contain, either it does, or it doesn't. The consumer is not the one to decipher that. Some people have a allergy to some foods. Isn't it just like it, they will give you the run-around, well you are just a woman. But don't let them get away with it. And good on you for taking it up with them.
Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 11, 2004 08:15AM
Just a query re: the fat percentage. If it is 3% fat, then 340gm serving should give you about 10gm of fat, which isn't the same at 10.2% fat.
So I don't think that the figures in that department are misleading, Lorna (I hope that I have that right!)

But I do agree with you re: the canneloni - if there is a picture of 2 on the packet, you would tend to assume there are 2 in the packet. I would definitely complain about that!

Cheers, Wilm
Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 11, 2004 08:50AM
I agree with Wilm regarding the fat content. I had always thought the fat content is based on 100gm.
However I would be complaining loud and clear about the lack of the 2nd canneloni. If the picture depicts 2 on a plate then 2 it should be.
Write back again to the manufacturers and state that your package had been incorrect and only one cannelonni was in it. As the picture showed 2 in a packet could you please forward me the 2nd one.
Who knows Christmas is around the corner and you may well get a carton of them!!!
Hi Lorna

Have you read the posting re Name and Shame. That would be a good one to read and when the NZ version is up and running you could maybe include your grouch because I too have found that with a few things. I very rarely by packaged dinners etc, haven't done for years but they aren't the only thing that is misleading....
ie Ad. for Woolworths........ there is a picture of two of any particular item and a price for two items then.... they have very cunningly included a pic of two chickens but the price is for each one. I know that isn't really false advertising but they do it to suck you in and in some ways it is worse because you have no comeback.
Can't wait for the kiwi N&S site to be up and running. Had a look at the Australian one ~ very good.
Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
December 13, 2004 07:46PM
Wilm, of course you're right. How silly of me. I was confusing grams with %. I should apologise to Dolmio, but I won't because the issue of only 1 Canelloni in the box when two are depicted.

Noeleen, I love your suggestion.

Re: Misleading Package Descriptions
January 02, 2005 05:08AM
Hi Raewyn. Thanks for your concern re food packaging. Fortunately, I don't have any particular health issues, and no food allergies. However, if I did, it would crtainly be a long and painful exercise for the person helping me. However, the foreign bodies found in certain food packets that were on Fairgo makes me realize how vulnerable I can be. Apart from sifting through everything in the pack (and, when everything's deep frozen I wouldn't know what it was), there is only one way I can find out. However I won't go into that one, as the sewerage ponds probably wouldn't cope with the wxtra influx as all food lovers make a dash for the smallest room!
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