Food producers, alternative therapy providers and multi-level
marketing companies that make claims about the potential for their
products to address allergies, risk ACCC action if these claims are
found to be misleading or deceptive.
On 12 October 2010, the ACCC publicly stated that it had
instituted litigation in the Federal Court in Melbourne against
five companies and four individuals for alleged false and
misleading claims about allergy treatments.
The respondents are:
Renew You Centre For Wellbeing & Longevity Pty Ltd
Newlife Publishing And Marketing Pty Ltd
Dzung Kieu Price
Willesee Healthcare Pty Ltd
Theoliza Pty Ltd
Theta Line Pty Ltd
Maria Teresa Colosimo
Sophie Lee-Anne Georgonicas
The respondents are alleged to have represented that they could
test for and identify a substance to which a person is allergic and
successfully treat, cure or eliminate a person's allergy.
Renew You, Newlife, Schianetz and Price are also alleged to have
falsely and misleadingly represented that they could teach parents
and carers of children to test for and identify a substance to
which a child is allergic and to treat, cure or eliminate
successfully a child's allergy.
These proceedings appear to be part of an increased focus by the
ACCC on allergy claims. In 2009, the ACCC took action against
Allergy Pathway Pty Ltd (formerly known as Advanced Allergy
Elimination Pty Ltd) for engaging in false, misleading and
deceptive conduct by representing that:
it could test for and identify an allergen for a person and/or
a substance to which a person is allergic, when it could not;
it could cure or eliminate virtually all allergies or allergic
reactions, when it could not;
it could successfully treat a person's allergies or
allergic reactions, when it could not; and
its treatment was safe and/or low risk and after treatment it
was safe for a person to have contact with the substance or
allergen to which the person had an adverse reaction, when there
were risks associated with the treatment for persons with certain
allergies including food allergies.
The latest proceedings serve as a reminder that any claims
regarding the beneficial effects of products on allergies must be
accurate and capable of being substantiated by the weight of
current, credible scientific evidence. The ACCC's increased
focus on allergy claims is relevant not only for those businesses
who offer allergy testing services but also to food manufacturers
and others who make claims about allergies in connection with their
It is also important for businesses including food producers,
alternative therapy providers and multi-level marketing companies
to remember the other laws that apply, in addition to the Trade
Practices Act, when making claims made about the potential for
products to address allergies. For example, food laws will also
need to be considered before making allergy claims in relation to
foods. The relevant State and Territory Food Authorities are
closely scrutinising labels and marketing materials relating to
food products to ensure that no health claims are made. This
includes health claims relating to the potential for particular
products to prevent or cure allergies.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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