Coles pulls popular fish off shelves after labelling error emerges

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Coles has been forced to pull a product from sale due to a false claim on the front of its packaging.

The supermarket has removed the rainbow trout supplied by The Fishery from shelves due to its packaging stating the fish was caught in the "wild".

According to the Australian Marine Conservation Society there is no such thing as "wild caught" rainbow trout, with the non-native fish "farmed mainly on land in small-scale tanks, ponds and raceways".

The product's label however, claimed the "restaurant quality" $34 per kilo product was "sustainably sourced" in Australia and had been “wild-caught”. 

While rainbow trout have been released into waterways for recreational fishers, there is no known licence permitting they be caught for commercial purposes.

Coles has removed rainbow trout from The Fishery from sale over a misleading claim on its packaging. Source: Getty Images
Coles has removed rainbow trout from The Fishery Seafood from sale over a misleading claim on its packaging. Source: Getty Images

Coles trout label error explained

Founder of Fish Tails, John Susman, which supplies products to The Fishery, said a machinery issue on Friday was behind the mistake.

“The mis-labelling of wild-caught on the farmed rainbow trout resulted from an update of a weigh labelling machine in our factory in Sydney,” Mr Susman told Yahoo News Australia.

The matter was brought to the attention of the supermarket by a shopper on Monday who said they were “99 per cent sure this rainbow trout isn’t wild-caught but farmed”. 

“You need to drag your supplier over very hot coals if the claim isn’t true,” he said in his tweet. 

“Can I trust you when you sell me ‘free range’, ‘pastured’ and ‘extra virgin’ too? Please investigate and revert,” he added. 

The rainbow trout incorrect
The "wild-caught" claim made on this rainbow trout was incorrect. Source: Twitter

Coles has since confirmed the product has been removed from 20 stores while it investigates the matter. 

“Coles takes the quality of all products we sell seriously. We have followed up with the supplier and have temporarily removed the product from sale,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia. 

Fish supplier thanks customer for tweet

Mr Susman said the label was meant for other products in the company’s system, including the coral trout which was added last week. He said a shift change also contributed to the mistake.

He added that swift “remedial action” was taken to resolve the issue, which affected 18 fish that were delivered to three Coles stores in metro Sydney. 

“Whilst by no means excusing the situation, mistakes happen and this was caught and fixed,” he said.

“We thank the Twitter Account user who indirectly notified Coles, but we were already on the case.”

Coles encouraged the Twitter user to contact Fish Tales directly if they had any further questions. 

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