Australian supermarket chain Coles

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has began legal proceedings against the Australian supermarket chain Coles after discovering that the bread they claim was baked in store came from Ireland.

The bread was partially baked and then frozen in Ireland and shipped to Coles stores where it was “finished.” The ACC started legal proceedings in the Federal Court for “false, misleading, and deceptive conduct.” The ACCC said in a statement that the legal actions covers the Coles Bakery and Cuisine Royale branded bread products, which is based in Co Offaly, Ireland.

At least 625 of Coles’ 749 supermarkets in Australia contain a bakery according to the ACCC. A spokesperson for Coles said the company has become aware of the ACCC legal action and plans to “vigorously defend” itself. The Irish Times reported the spokesperson said, “Coles has only just become aware of the ACCC legal action and will fully examine the ACCC statement before making any further comment.”

The ACCC is seeking an injunction and pecuniary penalties against Coles. They are also seeking orders that Coles review its compliance program and publish corrective notices on its websites and in supermarkets.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said consumers need to be able to make informed decisions about their purchases. He said, “Bread is an important grocery basket staple and customers need to be confident in claims made about food they buy.”

Sims went on, “We believe consumers are likely to have been misled by Coles that the entire baking process, including preparation, occurred in-store, when in fact the bakery products were prepared and partially baked off site, frozen, transported and then ‘finished’ in store. Indeed, the Cuisine Royale products were partially baked overseas.”

The case is on the fast track list of Melbourne Federal Court and the first court appearance is scheduled for August 13, 2013.