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Put a pork in it... Woollies ordered to change meat label

| Legislation

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has instructed Woolworths to change the labelling on some of its pork product packaging.

On the front of the packages of the company’s prepared pork products, Woolworths states that it contains “100% pork” while the ingredients list says 70% pork.

Jean Naude complained about the discrepancy between the stamp on the front and the ingredients list.

Woolworths argued that the 100% stamp was used to inform customers that the product carrying the stamp is “made using only South African meat raw material”.

“To clarify, the 70% pork meat that the sandwich contains is of 100% South African origin,” it said in response to the complaint.

Woolworths introduced the “South Africa 100% Pork” stamp in 2015 and used similar stamps on their prepared beef and chicken products.

However, the ARB said the stamp could be read in two ways:

  • The product is 100% SA pork; or
  • The product is South African and 100% pork.

The ARB ruled a reasonable consumer would read it as a South African product that is 100% pork.

“The 100% is clearly linked to the word ‘pork’ and not the word ‘South Africa’. It appears horizontally (and not as part of the circle, like ‘South Africa’) and it appears after the words ‘South Africa’ and before the word ‘pork’. The spacing is such that the words ‘South Africa’ are somewhat separated from the concept ‘100% pork’.”

It ruled that the packaging - describing it as “ambiguous at best” - must be changed.

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