PZ Cussons East Africa fined for missing date labels

PZ Cussons East Africa fined for missing date labels

Ruth Wang’ombe, Brand Manager Imperial Leather Kenya during interview on beauty products.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The competition watchdog has fined consumer goods manufacturer PZ Cussons East Africa Limited Sh595,000 for failing to provide date labelling on a range of its products including baby jelly.

Investigations by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) revealed that the firm breached labelling regulations on some of its personal care goods.

“It was noted that the company needed to indicate the dates of manufacture on the labelling of: Cussons Baby Perfumed

Jelly, Imperial Leather Body Lotion Japanese Spa, and Venus Skin Care Smoothing Body Lotion,” authority director-general Wang’ombe Kariuki said in notice yesterday.

The date labels on product packaging accompanied by phrases such as “use by,” “best before,” “sell by,” “enjoy by” and “expires on” are generally intended to communicate their safety and quality.

Section 60 (1) of the Competition Act, prohibits supply of goods for use that do not comply with consumer product information standards such as date labelling.

Sh590,000 fine

Mr Kariuki said PZ Cussons entered a deal with the regulator and agreed to pay a Sh590,000 administrative fine together with a written undertaking to abide by the regulations on product labelling going forward.

Date labelling on products is a sensitive issue globally because of the influence on purchase decisions.

The information gives an indication of a product’s “shelf life” which means the length of time a consumer should expect a product to last and serve as expected, and to stay safe for use. Time varies depending on the type of product, how it is used, and storage mode.

The competition watchdog early this year fined the miller of the Soko maize flour Sh600,000 for misrepresenting the quality and ingredients of the brand to consumers.

It said Thika-based Capwell Industries opted to enter into a settlement agreement after a sector-wide investigation found it was not compliant with relevant “consumer information standards and labelling requirements”.

The miller, together with Pembe Flour Mills Ltd, was found to have contravened section 55(a)(i) of the Competition Act, which touches on breaches on “standard, quality, value, grade and composition” of the product.

CAK said Capwell undertook “to comply with the provisions of the Act and all applicable relevant consumer information standards with respect to labelling of the products”.

The CAK flagged the two flour brands following an investigation into major retail stores on fortification and labelling claims millers made in the financial year ended June 2020.