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Australian families rage at red rooster deception

March 12, 2015

The popular roast chicken food-chain “Red Rooster” has recently been accused of deceiving its customer base, by claiming that its food is completely free of any artificial ingredients or preservatives during its latest marketing campaign.

The Food Intolerance Network, which is made up of approximately 10,200 families throughout Australia and New Zealand, submitted a complaint to the Australian consumer commission. They suggested that the food company has begun to make “misleading and erroneous” claims regarding the products that they sell.

Since last year, Red Rooster has assured its customers that they will not find “anything artificial” in their food, which uses “100 per cent Australian canola oil.” However, food technologist and co-founder of the network for food intolerance, Howard Dengate, said that analysis of the menu found that many included artificial additives, including the preservative known as 220 sulphur dioxide , which has been known to cause asthma attacks.

The discovery of artificial preservatives

Some of the artificial preservatives which were previously identified as a concern for children by the Federal Health department were found in numerous foods within the menu, including a range of sauces, the roast potatoes, and the cheesy chicken nuggets.

The problem has arose due to the fact the Red Rooster has used the ad line “You won’t find anything artificial” to promote their food. However, the company stated that they had only ever claimed to avoid using artificial flavours, colours and MSG in their food, and have never implied the same regarding preservatives. They argued that their customers could be reassured that they would stand by the commitment they had made for artificial-free foods.

The use of MSG

Mr. Dengate argued that Red Rooster has been using MSG, however, showing that the whole roast chicken contains yeast extract and hydrolysed vegetable protein, two ingredients with similar levels of glutamates.

On the other hand, a spokesman for the Food Safety Australia and New Zealand reassured customers that the synthetic antioxidants and artificial preservatives that Red Rooster use in their products are perfectly safe to eat. Currently, the Food Standards Code does not make any reference to natural or artificial food additives.

However, making statements that “nothing artificial” exists within the food could make Red Rooster susceptible to the Australian Consumer Law, which is overlooked by the ACCC.