Watchdog gets tough on retail
UP TO 30 in-depth investigations into cartel conduct and anti-competitive behaviour are under way.
The names of the companies have not been revealed, but Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims is set to outline on Thursday that the watchdog is focusing on "competition and consumer issues arising in highly concentrated sectors, and in particular the supermarkets and fuel sectors".
"Some forms of conduct are so detrimental to consumer welfare and the competitive process that the ACCC will always assess them as a priority," Mr Sims will say in a speech to the Centre for Economic Development in Australia.
He will also reveal the ACCC is cracking down on "credence claims" about products, particularly claims of where meat comes from.
"We have already been working on these matters with actions in relation to a number of 'free-range' claims, and we have tackled alleged misrepresentations in the labelling of extra virgin olive oil and taken on country (or region) of origin claims from sheepskins to meat."
He said not all the investigations would lead to court action.
Recently European consumers have been shocked by revelations supermarket foods were falsely labelled as beef, when it was horse meat from unknown origins.
Mr Sims confirmed last week the ACCC is investigating Coles and Woolworths.