Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good publicity in Tassie

This is adapted from today's Hobart Mercury.
Consumer watchdog Choice is calling for a unified standard for free-range eggs, to ease customer confusion.

And animals rights groups are calling on the State Government to follow the lead of Queensland to ensure there are not too many chickens crammed into free-range farms.

With no official standard for free-range eggs, guidelines are needed so consumers know exactly what they are buying when they purchase free-range eggs. Choice spokeswoman Ingred Just said "consumers are at real risk of being misled by businesses wanting to cash in on the premium a free-range product attracts.

"There’s no official national standard for free-range eggs and the label on the carton can have any number of meanings, depending on the producer." Ms Just’s comments follow an application from Australian Egg Corporation Ltd to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission requesting 20,000 birds per hectare be regarded as free range 13 times more than recommended numbers.

The recommended number is 1500 birds per hectare.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White called on the Tasmanian State Government to follow Queensland’s lead.

It has legislated for a freerange standard of 1500 birds per hectare.

"This will prevent those in the industry who see free range as a commercial opportunity, rather than a welfare necessity, from profiting from unacceptably high stocking densities," she said.

Free-range eggs make up nearly 40 per cent of all supermarket egg sales in Australia.

Primary Industries Minister Bryan Green yesterday said the State Government was still waiting for some advice on the issue.

Golden Free Range owner Steve Pavlides yesterday said free range eggs had been a closed industry for too long.

Mr Pavlides welcomed a possible unified national standard.

"Customers need some more awareness." he said.

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