Coles could face $5m in fines for lying about 'fresh' bread
IT WAS not baked today. It was not sold today.
The slogan from supermarket giants Coles could prove a costly lie, as the Australian consumer watchdog calls for $4 million in fines after it was found guilty of misleading shoppers.
Coles' claims that their baked goods were "baked today, sold today" and "freshly baked in-store" were both found to be false.
Sydney Morning Herald reports that over three years, Coles had earned $300 million from bread sold with deceptive labelling.
On Tuesday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told the Federal Court it wanted Coles to pay between $4 million and $5 million in damages for the breaches.
Colin Golvan SC said the size of the fine reflected the size of the company and the scale of its wrongdoing.
"This case is one in which consumers are led to the cash register on the basis of misconceptions about the manufacturing process," he said.
Coles' lawyer Philip Crutchfield SC meanwhile said it should be treated less harshly because the customer "didn't care".
He said that was shown by shoppers still buying Coles' bread even after the supermarket chain was found to be deceiving them.
"Just because we're big, we shouldn't get hit with a record fine," he said, according to SMH.
Coles is already banned from spruiking that its bread is baked and sold on the same day for at least three years.
The whole saga followed former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett raised concerns after he bought bread labelled as being fresh, when it was baked in Ireland.