A2 Milk accuses ABC of breaching consumer laws through promotion of The Checkout

A2 Milk is taking public broadcaster the ABC to court accusing the channel of breaching consumer laws by a segment on promoting consumer affairs show The Checkout which labelled the company’s scientific claims as “bogus”.

In a writ lodged with the Federal Court, the milk company claims the ABC engaged in “deceptive and misleading conduct” breaching section 18 of the Competition and Consumer Act by promoting the segment which aired on The Checkout on April 30, reports Fairfax Media’s The Age.

The Checkout A2 Milk

An ABC spokesperson told Mumbrella the broadcaster rejects the matter involved any “misleading or deceptive conduct”.

“Yesterday afternoon the ABC received notification of legal action by A2 Milk Company, but previously responded to a letter from lawyers acting on their behalf. We strongly rejected the suggestion that the matters a2 has complained about involved misleading or deceptive conduct,” the spokesperson said.

The complained about segment saw presenter Kirsten Drysdale report on “the latest bogus developments in milk science” in which it broke down what A2 Milk is and examine the various scientific claims the company makes around digestion and health.

This lawsuit is the second time the show, which is a Giant Dwarf, Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder and ABC TV co-production, has come under legal fire.

Vitamin brand Swisse is fighting the show with a lawsuit taken out by by Swisse-founder Radek Sali’s father Avni who claims the show severely injured his reputation.

The legal action followed a segment in the first episode of series one back in 2013, which questioned the relationship between vitamin brand Swisse and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, founded by Avni, which carried out clinical trials of Swisse products.

Speaking to Mumbrella ahead of the launch of this season’s launch of The Checkout, executive producer Julian Morrow did not rule out a further poke at Swisse. Nothing has been planned but the show likes to “fall back on old jokes”, he quipped.

Morrow said it has received many letters from a “flotilla of PR companies and legal firms trying to protect the business interests of their clients”.

In a video hangout last year Morrow joked one lawsuit wasn’t quite enough.  “We hope to get more this series,” he quipped.

“I’m quite proud of the fact that the very first story of the very first episode of The Checkout did produce legal proceedings, that was Craig’s story about complimentary medicines and there are proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court by a gentleman who’s the father of the CEO of Swisse,” Morrow said during the hangout.

“There’s nothing like a court date or anything I think the next step is mediation and I’m kind of hoping the mediation occurs before some of the later material about Swisse in the series occurs because it might produce a better chance of a settlement if that happens.

“We haven’t resiled from that story and don’t, it’s important to us that those sorts of things don’t affect the editorial or the creative process for the next series.”

Miranda Ward 


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