On 27 March 2014, Trade Measurement Officers undertook a routine inspection of the Woolworths Supermarket at Maroochydore Plaza, Maroochydore. During the inspection, they tested eight mock cream sponge birthday cakes in accordance with the National Measurement Institute Sampling and Testing Procedures for Pre-Packaged Articles.
The inspection identified differences between the actual and marked weights of each of those eight articles, with an average shortfall of 33.22%. Woolworths Ltd representatives participated in an interview with Trade Measurement Officers and acknowledged the shortfalls, stating that the correct method sheet was not used for the preparation of the goods, and that the scale used in the preparation of the cakes was broken on the day that they were tested.
During the interview, Woolworths’ Qld State Manager acknowledged that employees of Woolworths Ltd packed the products found to be deficient, and that the deficiencies came about because staff members responsible for packing lacked diligence and failed to follow the correct method sheet.
Charge and sentence
On 21 May 2015 Woolworths Ltd pleaded guilty to:
- eight offences contrary to s 18JS(2) of the National Measurement Act 1960 (Cth).
Woolworths Ltd was fined $3,300.