National ‘free range’ eggs standard in Ministers hands today

“On the heels of findings from the consumer advocacy group Choice, State Ministers will today consider adoption of a national standard for “free range” eggs,” said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.

“Choice demonstrated on Wednesday that many consumers are being duped by false labelling and highlighted the urgent need for legislation for the labelling of free range eggs,” Ms MacLaren said.

“It is shocking that only around 25 per cent of ‘free range’ producers interviewed actually comply with the code of practice for stocking density. 

“Consumers assume all free range laying hens have space to move with access to the outdoors, with shaded areas and shelter from rain.

“Consumers can pay up to twice the cost of caged eggs to purchase a more ethical product, is it too much to ask that they get what they paid for?  

“Choice’s findings and recent ACCC prosecutions show it is clear that compliance with voluntary guidelines is failing. Legislation is needed so consumers and producers know what free range actually means.”

“My Free Range Eggs Labelling Bill 2013 will establish WA laws to restore public confidence in the truthfulness of the ‘free range’ label by specifying conditions, including stocking densities, producers must meet to use the ‘free range’ label.

“This Bill serves consumers well by ensuring that producers charging a premium for their product actually adhere to the animal welfare standards.”

“In the meantime, it’s important that consumers protect themselves and check labelling to ensure they support producers that clearly state a stocking density of 1,500 -2,500 chickens per hectare.”