Crackdown on free-range egg labelling

Monday, 15 June, 2015


State and federal consumer affairs ministers have agreed to adopt a national, enforceable standard on egg labelling, to give consumers a clear definition of ‘free-range’ egg products.

“Growing uncertainty about the definition of free-range has meant many consumers have lost confidence in the existing regulation of egg labelling,” said NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello.

“The average Australian consumes 220 eggs a year, so when it comes to buying this staple product we want consumers to have confidence they are getting what they pay for. This new standard will also provide greater clarity for egg producers.”

John Coward from Egg Farmers of Australia welcomed the announcement. “We support a national approach to egg labelling to help ensure consumer confidence in the eggs they buy as well as clarity and certainty for farmers.”

Consumer watchdog Choice said that, despite the Model Code of Practice recommending a maximum of 1500 hens per hectare, many commonly available ‘free-range’ brands do not adhere to this, with some keeping as many as 10,000 chickens per hectare.

Under the Australian Consumer Law, a national information standard is designed to ensure consumers can make informed decisions about what they are purchasing. Other national information standards in place include ingredient labelling on cosmetics and toiletries and care labels for clothing and textiles.

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