January 29, 2009

Primo Queensland charged with labelling issues


Primo Queensland, a major ham and bacon processor in Australia, is charged with 145 counts of alleged country-of-origin labelling offences, after a six-month investigation by the NSW Food Authority.


The action taken by the NSW Food Authority comes as Primo is seeking to expand its Queensland operations with a new AU$70 million (US$46 million) Brisbane plant over the next 18 months.


The smallgoods baron, Paul Lederer has spent the past 12 months denying his company had been engaged in alleged meat substitution; by passing off cheap subsidised Danish pig meat as Australian produce.


Primo's Queensland operations have also been under surveillance for the past 12 months by that state's food authority, which stationed a full-time safety officer in the company's Wacol plant for much of last year.


In addition to evidence of misleading labelling, the authority said in April that there was a high probability there could have been a health risk due to the way meat was being stored, transported and handled.


A spokeswoman for Safe Food Queensland said the monitoring process had been concluded and the company was no longer the subject of any food safety concerns.

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