Thursday, December 01, 2016

Final submissions on 'free range' standard

Final submissions are being sought on the free range egg standard adopted by Ministers for Consumer Affairs/Fair Trading, which allow producers with up to 10,000 hens per hectare to label their eggs as free range. Here is part of the submission we have made: "We believe that the information standard on free range eggs adopted by Ministers is contrary to the interests of the industry and consumers. The standard allows intensive production systems to be classified as free range and appears to directly conflict with specific findings by Federal Court justices in their decisions on cases of deceptive conduct brought by the ACCC. The new standard simply allows unscrupulous producers to continue to mislead customers. Loopholes in the standard ensure that almost any excuse can be given for keeping hens locked up, but we believe that the term ‘regular and meaningful access to the outdoors is too vague anyway. Major producers are laughing at how easy it was to con the ministers into accepting what they wanted. There is no mechanism for checking each operation – so it would have been more effective to leave things as they were and let the ACCC launch prosecutions. Adopting the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry) would have been a more realistic standard. We have attached a document detailing how the Model Code was developed and the reasons for a maximum stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare. A fully grown laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year – so at a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare, the land will be covered by 5000 cubic metres of manure each year – far above the limits of sustainability. Chicken manure has the highest levels of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium of all manures, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely. Submissions on the free range standard can be made electronically at australianconsumerlaw@treasury.gov.au;

Monday, November 14, 2016

Politicians protect corporate crooks in egg industry

The outrageous standard for free range egg production proposed by Ministers for Consumer Affairs is still not set in concrete.To protect unscrupulous producers from prosecution for misleading consumers, new legislation is is being pushed through to change Consumer Law. Farmers and consumers have until December 9 to make submissions. If the amendment is passed, it will effectively nobble the ACCC from launching prosecutions against businesses which breach standards defined by Federal Court Justices. http://www.treasury.gov.au/…/Free-Range-Egg-Labelling-Infor… The political decision to allow intensive poultry farms to be classified as free range makes no sense as the Victorian Government is considering tightening animal welfare laws. Instead of getting bureaucrats to draft laws about things they don't understand it would be better to ensure that animals are kept in conditions as close as possible to their natural environment - rather than in cages, pens or feed lots.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Government workshop on free range a waste of time

The Victorian Department of Agriculture appears to have lost the plot when it comes to free range farming. Agriculture Victoria is wasting money, holding a workshop in Wonthaggi tomorrow ( Monday), supposedly about free range egg farming. One problem is that notices about the workshop were only sent out a couple of days prior to the session. But a bigger problem is that the topics proposed to be covered did not deal with many of the issues vital for successful free range farming. Topics include presentations by staff of the Australian Egg Corporation and stock food company, Ridley Agriproducts. So the focus appeares to be on intensive production systems. No one at the workshop is scheduled to talk about extensive production. State Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has not responded to a request for clarification about the purpose of the workshop. Recent political decisions allowing intensive systems to be classified as 'free range' pose a serious threat to agricultural productivity. A laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. So with a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs earlier this year, farmers who follow their advice will see their land covered with 5000 cubic metres of manure per hectare every year. As chicken manure has the highest amount of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium of all manures, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely.

Friday, November 11, 2016

help start more free range egg farms by supporting webinars

There has been a huge increase in enquiries about establishing genuine free range egg farms. and we have many requests for our eBook and to find out if we are still running workshops. We have held workshops on the farm for those wanting to start their own free range egg business but now we are planning to encourage many more people by developing a series of webinars. They should allow us to reach hundreds rather than a handful who attend workshops. Details here https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Colouring additives in fish and eggs

ABC TV"s Four Corners revealed that tasmanian fish farms feed additives to produce the pink colour of farmed salmon. Nothing new in this, Large -scale egg producers have been using feed with colouring additives for years just to enhance yolk colour. All major egg producers and many small ones - even those which claim to be free range and organic - use colouring additives in the feed they give their hens. Their use is completely unnecessary in a free range flock, as hens running on quality pasture and at low stocking densities obtain enough carotenoids from the green feed in the paddocks to maintain good yolk colour. The colour will vary – depending on the time of year and what each hen has been eating – but many egg producers want to con consumers by using additives to provide consistent, bright yolk colour. Many of those additives are synthetic - adding to the chemical cocktail mix in food. But even those which are claimed to be 'natural' are manufactured in factories – often in China. What the manufacturers mean by using the word 'natural' is that the additives may be derived from natural products but are processed and concentrated into a powder or liquid. Three of the most widely used egg yolk pigmenters are: Canthaxanin or Canthaxanthin which appears to be an unsafe additive. It can cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, dry and itchy skin, hives, orange or red body secretions, and other side effects. Do not use canthaxanthin if you experience breathing problems; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat; a skin rash or hives; you are pregnant or breast-feeding or you are allergic to vitamin A or carotenoids. Capsicum Allergic reactions to capsicum may occur. Stop eating eggs with capsicum-based colouring and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives. Other less serious side effects have also been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you experience upset stomach; heartburn; diarrhoea; migraine attacks or burning sensation in the mouth or throat. Use of Capsicum is not recommended if you are pregnant. If you are or will be breast-feeding while eating food containing Capsicum, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby. Capsicum colourings can bring on anaphylactic shock. See details about which plants generate these problems on this site at the University of Maryland: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/anaphylaxis-000008.htm Marigold Some people experience breathing problems, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat. A skin rash or hives may occur. From the Auckland Allergy Clinic Article written: September 2001 Salicylate sensitivity is the body’s inability to handle more than a certain amount of salicylates at any one time. A salicylate sensitive person may have difficulty tolerating certain fruits or vegetables. What are salicylates? Salicylate is a natural chemical made by many plants. It is chemically related to aspirin, which is a derivative of salicylic acid. It is believed the plant uses it as protection from insects, and they are everywhere around us. Although natural salicylates are found in wholesome foods, some individuals have difficulty tolerating even small amounts of them. The reaction to a natural salicylate can be as severe as that to a synthetic additive if the person is highly sensitive. Some people are troubled by only a very few, but some are troubled by all of them. What is salicylate sensitivity? Some adults and children have a low level of tolerance to salicylates and may get symptoms that are dose-related. The tolerated amount varies from one person to another. This is an example of food intolerance. What are some of the symptoms of Salicylate Intolerance? • Chronic Urticaria & Angioedema • Trigger for Eczema • Asthma • Nasal Polyps • Sinusitis • Rhino conjunctivitis • Stomach aches and upsets Foods containing Salicylates Salicylates occur naturally in many fruits, and vegetables as a preservative, to prevent rotting and protect against harmful bacteria and fungi. They are stored in the bark, leaves, roots, and seeds of plants. Salicylates are found naturally in many foods and its compounds are used in many products. All fresh meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereals, bread are naturally low in salicylates Foods with very high Salicylate content include: Vegetables: Capsicum Hot Peppers Capsaicin is the active component of Capsicum. Pure capsaicin is a volatile, hydrophobic, colourless, odourless, crystalline to waxy compound. Capsaicin Factsheet http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/Capsaicintech.pdf A UK report on The Adverse Effects of Food Additives on Health, published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine described surveys on food intolerance which showed that as many as 2 in 10 people believe that they react badly to certain foods or to their constituents, whereas less than 2 in every 100 has been considered to be the official figure. However, a recently published report indicates that small children are much more likely to react to certain foods. Although the exact numbers are not known, surveys suggest that one child in 10 may be affected in some way Of the nearly 4000 different additives currently in use, over 3640 are used purely for cosmetic reasons and as colouring agents. The continued reason for the use of additives is based on the argument that they are present in foods on such a minute scale that they must be harmless. This argument may be almost acceptable regarding additives with a reversible toxicological action. However, with additives which have been found to be both mutagenic and carcinogenic, neither the human nor animal body is able to detoxify. Therefore even very minute doses of these additives, when consumed continuously, will eventually result in an irreversible toxic burden, resulting finally in cancer formation and/or in chromosomal and foetal damage. This is unacceptable, particularly as the majority of these dangerous agents belong to the food colouring group. The full report is available here: http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1994/articles/1994-v09n04-p225.shtml An allergy is a hypersensitity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is formally called type 1 hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions are distinctive because of excessive activation of certain white blood cells. Mild allergies like hay fever are very common in humans but allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens may result in life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis. From a Food Additive Guide http://mbm.net.au/health/100-181.htm E160(c) Paprika extract, capsanthin, capsorubin Capsanthin, found in paprika extract, is a red to orange coloured spice derived from the pods and seeds of the red pepper (Capsicum annuum). Contains vitamins A, B, C and traces of Zn, Cu, Se, Co, Mo, etc. Paprika extract also contains capsanthin. Capsanthin may be added to poultry feed to enhance egg yolk colour. Typical products include eggs, meat products. Not listed in Australia. Avoid it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Starting a free range farm webinar

We have run workshops on the farm for those wanting to start their own free range egg farm but now we are planning to encourage many more people by developing a series of webinars. They should allow us to reach hundreds rather than a handful who attend workshops. Details here https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Reasons behind "stupid" free range decision

This is part of the submission by Egg Farmers of Australia in which they acknowledged that most egg producers would have been unable to meet higher standards.They meant,of course, that imposing higher standards would have prevented them from continuing to rip - off consumers by labelling their intensively produced eggs as free range. Their submission helped to con Ministers into making their absurd 'free range' decision: "Egg Farmers of Australia have been disappointed by the scope and analytical basis of regulatory intervention to date and the impact it has had in creating uncertainty as to the definition of free range eggs. The prospect that the approach of 'most birds outside on most ordinary days' could be incorporated into a free range labelling standard is deeply concerning and Egg Farmers urges the Treasury not to characterise the relevant ‘problem’ to be addressed on this basis. This is because the 'most birds, most days’ approach: a) is flawed in that it seeks to define free range by reference to specific misrepresentations that have been the subject of enforcement action; b) is based on case law which has not considered, and cannot provide meaningful guidance on the meaning of free range; and c) would significantly distort the competitive process by imposing a definition of free range that the vast majority of free range egg suppliers could not be confident they could meet. Egg Farmers proposes a basic information standard based on the published Egg Farmers definition of free range eggs. This definition provides that laying hens in free range farming systems: a) are unconfined within a ventilated hen house; b) have meaningful access to and are free to roam and forage on an outdoor range area during daylight hours in a managed environment; and c) a maximum outdoor stocking density of one hen per square metre". That is 10,000 hens per hectare which has a stupid result. A laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. So with a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs, farmers who follow their advice will see their land covered with 5000 cubic metres of manure per hectare every year. As chicken manure has the highest amount of nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium of all manures, it will likely render the land useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely.