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Business owners could face jail time or a $50,000 fine for screwing up ANZAC biscuits

Dominic Powell /

ANZAC

ANZAC biscuits. Source: Wikimedia user pfctdayelise

If your nan’s secret recipe for ANZAC biscuits involves a sprinkling of lemon zest or a handful of dark chocolate chips, she might have just cost you a cool $50,000.

With ANZAC Day tomorrow, business owners across the country in the retail and food industries may be tempted to cook up a quick batch to sell alongside their regular offerings. But if that’s your plan, make sure your recipe doesn’t deviate too far from the rolled-oat norm.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has warned businesses could cop a fine of up to $51,000 for misuse of the word ‘ANZAC’ or a mis-bake of the much-loved ANZAC biscuit, warning in guidelines that aspiring Masterchefs must “not substantially deviate from the traditional recipe and shape”.

“Even within the scope of the traditional ANZAC biscuit, there is a high degree of variation within the recipes,” a spokesperson told The New Daily.

The department provides a helpful link to a traditional ANZAC biscuit recipe on its website.

Broadly, any use of the word ‘ANZAC’ in a corporate, commercial or official manner must be approved by the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, however, exemptions exist for events held on ANZAC Day and approval is generally granted for sale of ANZAC biscuits, given they comply with regulation.

This regulation also includes appropriate labelling of the food as either a ‘biscuit’ or ‘slice’. The use of the term ‘cookie’ is right out, “due to the non-Australian overtones” the department says.

Insensitive or inappropriate use of the word in advertising or marketing materials is the area most frequently cracked down on by the department. The guidelines list any merchandise or product referring to ‘ANZAC’ which does not raise funds for an ex-service organisation or charity as frequently declined applications to use the term.

Particularly egregious breaches of the Protection of Word ‘ANZAC’ Act could face up to 12 months jail time, a tall price to pay for a plate of golden biscuits.

In previous years, businesses have copped flak online for misusing the term ‘ANZAC’. National supermarket chain Woolworths was forced to apologise and take down advertising which included a picture of a soldier with the tagline ‘Fresh in our Memories’.

In 2017, a nightclub was criticised as being insensitive after it posted a series of raunchy posters featuring a topless man in a sailor outfit surrounded by Australian flags and fighter jets. However, the club was also donating proceeds from the night to a veteran’s support charity.

NOW READ: It’s the branding move small businesses “tend to really screw up”: Should you ever reference Anzac Day in advertising?

NOW READ: A state-by-state guide to trading hours for ANZAC Day 2019

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the former features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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