Liquor importer fined after caught with illegal product

(Source: Bigstock)

Two Auckland-based companies that import and distribute liquors have been fined a combined $244,000 for attempting to sell illegal products.

Importer Golden Grand Trading and distributor Mayajaal Holdings were recently sentenced in the Auckland District Court following an investigation by New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS).

Golden Grand was fined $142,000 over three charges under the Food Act 2014, including being an unregistered importer, while Mayajaal received a $102,000 penalty for one charge under the Food Act. Both companies must also share costs of $36,000 for disposal of the alcohol.

The investigation revealed that the two firms attempted to sell 5534 bottles of imported liquor with either no lot codes or a lot code that was not genuine.

Most of the products, valued at about $292,000, were seized at their distribution warehouse. Another 30 bottles were recalled, seven were seized from a liquor store and two others from an online purchase.

“Label integrity matters and when businesses try to get around the rules, they are at best deceiving consumers, and at worst putting them at risk,” said NZFS deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle.

“Consumers deserve to know that the product they are consuming is safe and suitable and the lot numbers help provide that assurance.”

The NZFS added that Golden Grand had received a warning about importing liquor with non-compliant labelling in 2012.

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