ISLAMABAD - The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has imposed fines on three dairy companies for deceiving the consumer by selling their products as milk, which actually are tea whiteners.

The CCP has passed an order imposing fines of Rs62.29 million on Engro Foods Limited (EFL), Rs2m on Noon Pakistan Limited (NPL), and Rs500,000 on Shakarganj Foods Products Limited (SFP) for violating Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.

The CCP's bench comprising of chairperson Vadiyya Khalil, members Dr Shahzad Ansar and Ikramul Haq Qureshi has passed the order. The order disposed off the show cause notices issued to these companies after an inquiry conducted by CCP found that the aforementioned companies were prima facie deceiving consumers by marketing and selling tea whiteners and dairy drinks including SFP's product 'Qudrat' (liquid tea whitener), NPL's product 'Dairy Rozana' (dairy drink) and EFL's product 'Dairy Omung' (dairy drink) as milk.

The order found that EFL in its marketing campaign for its product 'Dairy Omung', particularly the television commercial, gave the net impression that 'Omung' is milk, and not a dairy drink, while the company's website termed 'Omung' as an alternate to loose milk, thereby deceiving the unsuspecting consumer.

The order further noted that the packaging and labeling of NPL's product 'Dairy Rozana' gave a general net impression that the product is milk, not a dairy drink thus deceiving the consumers about the product. Regarding SFPL's product, 'Qudrat', the order found that the labeling on the packaging was deceptive in the absence of a proper and sufficient disclosure about the product.

CCP's order stated that when material information pertaining to products or services is inaccurate or incomplete, it is likely to mislead consumers and affect competitors, in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act.

Penalties have been imposed on the companies relative to the severity of the violations and their likely impact on competition in the market. Furthermore, the companies have been warned not to violate the provisions of competition law in the future.