Independent supermarkets accused of labelling US onions as Australian

 Australian onion growers say onions from the United States are being sold in independent supermarkets labelled as Australian product.

A photo of imported American onions posted on social networking site Facebook has attracted plenty of complaints.

"Up to $6 a kilogram in one store in Goondiwindi I saw, for sure," says Michael Sippel who works for an onion seed supplier.

Mr Sippel says the imported onions, being sold in a local onion growing region, were labelled as Australian.

"I questioned the store manager and he showed me the paperwork and agreed he stood to be corrected."

Mr Sippel says local growers are receiving about $1 to $1.50 per kilogram, so $5 per kilogram retail for imported onions means consumers aren't getting a good deal.

The wider issue for Onions Australia's new chair Kees Versteeg is that imported onions are hurting the investments growers have made to ensure supply year round.

Mr Versteeg says the problem is the imported onions are not being clearly labelled.

The value of the Australian onion industry averages $181 million a year.

Onions Australia says it has been monitoring the issue of overseas imports and is planning to contact all independent grocers as part of an education campaign.


Publication date: 11/20/2014