Nonprofit Newswire | Heinz’ Sweet (and Mandatory) Donation

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March 18, 2010; Sydney Morning Herald | You may know H.J. Heinz as a ketchup maker here in the United States, but in Australia the company will soon be better known for a donation of about a million cans of fruit to charity, the result of not being truthful to consumers.

The U.S.-based company admitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that it had knowingly continued to sell canned fruit with labels marked “Proudly Australian Owned” a year after it purchased a formerly locally owned food processor.

Although Heinz initially had been told to dump some 800,000 cans that had been wrongly labeled, and take out newspaper ads apologizing for misleading consumers, it later agreed to donate the fruit—worth about $1.6 million—to local welfare agencies.

Graeme Samuel, who heads the Australian consumer watchdog group described the outcome as a “significant win for consumers and the disadvantaged.” Or as a lot of people are likely saying these days in Australia: “Sweet.”—Bruce Trachtenberg