Australian manufacturer Tasman Sheepskin Tannery given an undertaking that it will stop claiming its medical sheepskins meet a voluntary standard after it was brought to the attention of the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).
A hospital physiotherapist first raised concerns when a consumer found up to 80 grass seeds imbedded in the leather and wool of a Tasman Sheepskin Tannery sheepskin.
Sheepskins obtained by the ACCC as part of its investigations contained up to 40 grass seeds.
The ACCC felt that this did not meet the requirements of the standard even though Tasman claimed compliance.
Labeling and washing instructions were also missing from the medical sheepskins.
Tasman Sheepskin Tannery manufactures and distributes medical sheepskins to hospitals, physiotherapists, home care providers and consumers.
“Consumers in this case are vulnerable and may be poorly placed to identify non-compliance with the standard,” said ACCC Chairman, Gordon Samuels.
“The message to manufacturers is simple – if you are not sure you can claim compliance with a standard – don’t.”
The compliance is not mandatory but because it falsely claimed compliance, Tasman Sheepskin Tannery risked breaching sections 52 and 53(a) of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Medical sheepskins are used as bed or chair underlays to relieve pressure and minimise the risk of bedsores or ulcers.
Tasman Sheepskin Tannery has undertaken that it will:
– cease representing that its medical sheepskins comply with the standard when they do not;
– replace or refund any medical sheepskins manufactured by Tasman Sheepskin Tannery since 1 November 2005 that contain grass seeds or do not display required labeling; and
– implement a trade practices compliance program.