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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Infection-fighting camel milk referred to ACCC in Choice’s Shonky Awards aftermath

Shonky Award winners Green and Clean Bottled Air. Photo: CHOICE Kellogg’s earned a Shonky Award for shrinking its Pringles but lifting the price. Photo: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

The Victorian Camel Association claims its product can improve the health of people with “autism, diabetes, tuberculosis and cancer”. Photo: Esther Han

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A camel milk business that claims its “white gold” can help those with autism, diabetes and cancer has been referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for investigation.

Camel Milk Victoria was one of nine dodgy products and services slapped with a Shonky Award by consumer group Choice during a mock ceremony on Wednesday.

“That one is shocking. It’s concerning, particularly claims about cancer, diabetes, issues which require really serious medical treatment,” ACCC’s deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard told Fairfax Media.

“These claims may stop people getting the proper help they need. We’ll be looking into it.”

Camel Milk Victoria, which says its $21-a-litre product can fight bacteria and infections, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Other Shonky Award winners included Samsung for its exploding Galaxy Note7, Reckitt Benckiser, whose Vanish Preen Power Powder failed to outperform water in tests, and Amex for running a “surcharge-free” campaign.

Last year, Choice referred biscuit maker Arnott’s, a Shonky winner, to the ACCC for misleadingly using its own “school canteen approved” logo on its snack food.

Arnott’s subsequently removed the logo from Tiny Teddy packaging, avoiding a fine.

In July, the ACCC issued a $10,800 fine to Unilever and Smith’s for using similar logos that led shoppers to assume their products were healthy.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said Choice was doing a great job exposing dodgy products and services, complementing the work of the regulator.

He said the most concerning product for him was Green and Clean’s bottled air, priced at $246.24 for a pack of 12 cans.

“That product was actually advertised in the local Blue Mountains Gazette as a legitimate enterprise. I’d be very interested to see if they report on the Shonky Award,” he said.

Green and Clean’s co-director John Dickinson said the Shonky win “wasn’t fair”, considering the market was responding to the clean air product.

“For a lot of people who are living overseas in very polluted places, they are telling us they really enjoy having the product at hand,” he said.

In a review, Choice calculated that an 18-year-old using the bottled air for every remaining breath in their life would require 1,732,584 cans, at a cost of more than $35 million.

But Mr Dickinson said the same could be argued of bottled water.

“We have never made any scientific claims regarding the product. I think [the award] is potentially very slanderous,” he said.

Payday lender Cash Converters also received an award for its “handy cost-cutting tips” on the unbranded Common Cents website, all of which direct consumers to its crippling payday loan offerings.

Fiona Guthrie, chief executive of Financial Counselling Australia, said Cash Converters’ website amounted to deception.

“I was absolutely incensed that they would use that as a marketing channel, clearly providing poor financial advice to people suggesting that they go and get a payday loan,” she said.

“The problem with payday loans is they are a debt trap, a high-cost, short-term loan marketed to people with low fixed incomes.”

Cash Converters said the website was clearly Cash Converters-branded and that all links directed users to its online Webshop, and its homepage, never the personal finance pages.

“It is disappointing that our Common Cents site has been construed as anything other than a handy and helpful site,” a spokesman said.

Choice also lambasted Medical Weightloss Institute for its “dodgy” drug program, which set one consumer back $4400 and promises users they will not have to exercise or even eat less.

At the centre of the concerns is the drug diethylpropion, which Choice said the Therapeutic Goods Administration had withdrawn from the Australian market.

An MWI spokesman said the appetite suppressant was not banned in Australia.

A TGA spokesman said diethylpropion was cancelled from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods at the request of the sponsor, not initiated by the TGA, and it would therefore be incorrect to state that it was withdrawn from the Australian market by the TGA.

“There are no products containing diethylproprion currently included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods,” he said.

Rounding out the Shonky award recipients are Nestle, with its 46 per cent sugar Milo, and Kellogg’s, which shrank the size of Pringles and lifted the price at the same time.

Nestle said Milo’s rating was “completely in line” with the Health Star system and the Australian Dietary Guidelines, while Kellogg’s said “a small price increase with the new cans” was needed to cover increased production costs.  Let’s do the maths

Green and Clean’s bottled air: A pack of 12 cans sells for just $246.24, each offering “upward of 255 breaths”. At rest, an adult takes up to about 14 breaths per minute. That’s 20,160 a day, over 7.3 million a year. An 18-year-old today can expect to live for another 60 years, taking at least 441 million breaths. That’s 1,732,584 bottles of air, valued at a mere $35,552,623.68, excluding postage and handling.

Kellogg’s Pringles: The shelf price dropped from $4.10 to $4.00 in July. But Kellogg’s also reduced the tube width by 8.9 per cent and the Pringle length by 9.7 per cent. Ultimately, the 100 gram unit price rose from $2.73 to $2.99. So when it comes to what you actually get for your money, that’s a 9.3 per cent price pop.Medical Weightloss Institute: Choice said it knew of one customer who paid $4400 – a half-price discount! – to sign up. In the first month she lost just two kilograms. That’s $2200 for each kilogram lost.2016 Shonky Award Winners Samsung for offloading dangerous products, namely the Galaxy Note7.Vanish for its “revolutionary product to clean and refresh your carpet”, which fails to outperform water.Amex for spruiking a surcharge-free campaign while having one of the highest-cost cards in the market.Nestle’s Milo for being 46 per cent sugar but claiming 4.5 health stars based on use with skim milk.Cash Converters for spruiking payday loans under the guise of handy cost-cutting tips.Medical Weightloss Institute for targeting vulnerable people with dodgy diet advice.Green and Clean’s bottled air for selling a pack of 12 cans of “air” for nearly $250.Kellogg’s Pringles for reducing the size of tubs and chips, while increasing fat content.Camel Milk Victoria for claiming its product can improve the health of people with “autism, diabetes, tuberculosis and cancer”.

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