All products must carry relevant information including use of any secret ingredients which may hurt consumers’ religious sentiments.
This call comes from the Consumer Council of Fiji after news of an uproar over a consumer’s discovery of traces of beef products and alcohol used in the processing of Golden Circle juice, produced by Heinz Australia, which is also widely available in the Fijian market.
Sonjoy Chakraborty, from Melbourne, discovered the shocking revelation when he decided to writeto Heinz Australia after he heard that such ingredients could be found in some fruit drinks.
Heinz Australia replied saying that the Golden Circle long-life range was made using a clarifying agent derived from beef and that alcohol-based flavours were used across the drinks range.
They further stated that flavours including alcohol based flavours are used across the Golden Circle and Original Juice Co and beef derived gelatine is also used to remove “cloudiness” in its apple juice. However, according to Heinz the final product does not contain gelatin.Given that, gelatine is not stated on the product label as it is used just as a processing aid.
The Council, however, believes that the company should disclose such information as part of their social responsibility so that consumers are in a better position to decide whether to buy the product or not.
Such relevant disclosures are necessary given the different religious sentiments individual consumers have across the globe. And this duty lies with the manufacturers who produce and pack the products.
Fiji’s Food Safety Act and Food Safety Regulations 2009 do require certain religious and cultural sensitivities to be considered when disclosing information regarding food products.
Ms. Premila Kumar
Consumer Council of Fiji