Misleading labelling resolved

Business, Normal

The National, Wednesday 24th April 2013

 THE Independent  Consumer and  Competition  Commission (ICCC) has resolved a potentially serious problem  involving  misleading alcohol content labeling in alcoholic drinks supplied by Vitis Industries.

Vitis is a local brewing company operating outside of Port Moresby at 9-Mile and produces coffee punch among others.

ICCC investigated a complaint about the alcohol content of Vitis products, had the products tested and found that the alcohol content far exceeded the labeled content.

Commissioner Dr Billy Manoka said “We  considered  litigation  for   misleading labeling  because  consumers of the  product would  have ingested much  more  alcohol  than they  were  led  to  believe  and  that  posed  a very  significant risk  of road  accidents if they drove  vehicles”.

He said consuming an excess amount of alcohol is a risk to health particularly when consumers do not know how much they are absorbing.

This may result because of misleading labeling on Vitis products.

Dr Manoka said “The  fact that Vitis agreed with the findings  and  cooperated with the commission  avoided the necessity of taking the  matter to court,  which  would  have  been a lengthy  and  expensive alternative for  both  parties, and  led  to an effective solution being worked  out, which safeguards the interests of the public”.

Vitis has built a new factory, installed much more accurate alcohol-measuring instruments which uses   three different testing methods as part of the production processes: gas chromatography; photo spectrophotometry; and hydrometer testing.

“An amicable resolution means that a repeat of the unfortunate events which led to this investigation should be avoided,” Manoka added.

He said the commission had the power to take a company to court as a last resort where the matter could not be resolved amicably.


Manoka said the commission has requested the company to finalise a laboratory quality manual and to include in their testing processes the following; 


* Record keeping- error results must be recorded and the corrective measures taken;


* Training records of the food technologist to be included in the manual; and


* Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) of the testing procedures must be documented.