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Egyptian peaches sold as Austrian by Spar

Austrian supermarket chain Spar has been found guilty of negligence by a court in Salzburg after it was caught selling Egyptian peaches as "freshly picked in Austria" written in large letters - with a tiny sentence underneath less than a millimetre in height saying "imported from Egypt".

Spar was also caught selling peppers from Spain as "a product from Austria".

The court heard that the products were discovered on sale in a special promotion made in April of last year in which the supermarket chain had created pamphlets showing peaches with a red and white Austrian flag and the words "start of the season freshly picked from Austria".

But bizarrely in extremely small writing with letters of less than a millimetre in height underneath the large headline was the words "from Egypt, class I".

Then in November also last year Spar was found to be selling green peppers as "a product from Austria" even though on the packet it listed the source land in very small letters as Spain.

The consumer Association VKI made a formal complaint about the promotions and claimed that the supermarket chain was a systematic offender – an allegation which the court ruled was somewhat exaggerated.

A Spokesman for Spar said that it should have been clear to customers that with regards to the peaches sold in April that they could not possibly have been from Austria as it was not yet the season – and that the use of the Austrian flag was simply a mistake during printing.

But the court rejected the submission saying that the slogan alone "freshly picked in Austria" was enough to give the wrong impression to the customer.

Spar spokeswoman Nicole Berkmann said that the company rejected allegations that it was a frequent offender in wrongly labelling the source land of its products and said that the peach complaint referred to an error in printing of the promotional pamphlet that was only distributed in Lower Austria, and that the wrongly labelled peppers had been sold in only one of the 1500 Spar branches – at a store in Burgenland.


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