Prompt remedial action by a company can prevent orders being
made against the company.
There is nothing too special about the legal principles in this
case - except that it is a nice example of where sloppy labelling
compliance gets you and how a quick corporate response can save
The plaintiff family had been consuming Dolmio products for many
years, swayed in part by its creamy pasta goodness but also by the
label which claimed the product was halal.
Halal is a Islamic word meaning lawful or permitted. In
reference to food, it is the dietary standard, as prescribed in the
Koran, the Muslim scripture. Dolmio's Pasta Bake Creamy
Mushroom, however, contained some white wine so it was not
The Tugcu family sued Domio's maker, Mars, for breach of
section 52 of the Trade Practices Act seeking an injunction and
damages. An injunction is an order of a court restraining a party
from doing a particular act. For example, a court can order a
company cease distribution of a product with an erroneous label. An
injunction is a discretionary remedy. Whether an injunction is
granted will depend on the fairness of the circumstances and
whether there is any particular urgency in preventing an act from
In this case, Justice Gzell of the NSW Supreme Court refused to
grant an injunction against Mars as it had already:
put an immediate stop on the release of all stock on hand of
Dolmio products bearing the mistaken label so that no more of that
product was distributed to the market;
developed and was implementing a plan to have all stock of
Dolmio product bearing the mistaken label removed from
retailers' shelves so the product was not sold unless and until
it was correctly labelled;
contacted the Halal Certification Authority Australia to advise
it of its error, of the steps it was taking to rectify that error,
and of the process for dealing with any consumer complaints or
placed a notice on the Dolmio website of the error, the steps
being taken to rectify it and Mars' willingness to replace or
refund product where consumers are of the view that they were
misled by the use of the halal logo; and
launched an internal investigation into errors and oversights
which took place during the label development stage.
In short, the court thought that an injunction would serve no
useful purpose, as what was necessary had already been done.
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The Sportscraft refunds and returns policy limitations went beyond consumer's rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
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