WA seafood brand Kailis Bros 90 percent Chinese owned has amended its packaging over concerns customers were refreezing fish they wrongly believed to be fresh.
The Canning Vale-based business was the subject of a social media storm this week after a Perth dad accused it of failing to clearly label if a product was previously frozen.
The father said he froze the crumbed whiting at home because there was nothing on the packet to suggest it had already been thawed.
But he claimed his young son became ill hours after the fish was defrosted and cooked.
Packaging he posted on Facebook shows the fish is described as “hand selected for quality and freshness”.
On the back, it states the fish was “packed in Australia with whiting from Vietnam” and advises it be “refrigerated below 5C”. There is no mention of the fish having been frozen and thawed.
A Kailis Bros spokesman said: “Although the label met the Australian compliance standards there was some ambiguity which could result in consumers storing the product in a way that was never intended.
“As a result we moved to immediately change the label on that product to make it clearer that it should not be frozen by the consumer and to review labels on our other products.”
A check of Kailis Bros products at a Woolworths supermarket in the CBD yesterday showed crumbed prawns now state: “Packed in Australia with prawns imported from Vietnam. Thaw back product, not suitable for freezing.”
The same product at a nearby Coles did not carry the warning.
In December, Kailis was fined $10,800 over packaging of “just caught prawn meat”.
The ACCC ruled the product “gave the misleading impression that it was packed and processed in Australia”. Fine print showed the prawns were packed in Thailand.
The family-owned Australian seafood company Kailis Bros has sold 90 per cent of its seafood processing, wholesale and export business to a Chinese conglomerate.
The monetary value of the deal with Hong-Kong listed Legend Holdings, announced late on Wednesday night, has not been revealed.
Under the sale, Kailis Bros’ seafood processing, wholesaling and exporting business will become part of a newly formed venture between the two companies, called KB Foods.
The deal does not include Kailis Bros’ Leederville restaurant and retail outlet or the Perth Fish Markets, which will remain owned by the family.
Matthew Kailis is due to become chief executive of KB Foods, while George Kailis and Nicholas Kailis will continue in their roles as managing directors within the new structure.
The Kailis family will hold a 10 per cent share in the venture.
In a statement, Matthew Kailis said the business structure would remain the same.
“It will be very much business as usual for all of our customers, suppliers and employees,” Mr Kailis said.