Friday, November 15, 2013

Tassie Farmers & Graziers reckon that exemptions for backyard egg sellers are unfair

With food health and hygiene, it's not appropriate to have one law for some and another law for others, according to the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.
"We're told the recent changes to egg labeling regulations reflect an assessed risk of food contamination from poor handling and other factors. If this is a real health risk, you cannot exempt backyard and small producers from being responsible for what they sell," Association chief executive Jan Davis said.
Ms Davis was commenting on a move by the Tasmanian Greens to exempt people with fewer than 50 hens from new regulations that come into force there on 26 November 2013.
These regulations will require any eggs sold in Tasmania to be stamped with identifying information.
"The rationale is that, if there is a problem, we have to be able to isolate the producer responsible," Ms Davis said.
"If you exempt a large segment of the industry that supplies eggs, even if it is a backyard industry, you destroy the integrity of the risk assessment system. Of particular concern is that, in many cases, this smaller segment is actually the greatest source of potential risk.
"Therefore it has to be all in or none in. Otherwise it's a clear case of discrimination.
"This is the sort of community division that arises when governments do not do their homework and do not consult with the appropriate people involved in the industry before they decide to act. I have already said that these regulations are typical of the nanny state approach common to governments in Australia.
"If these regulations are to be introduced, they must be imposed on all those who supply the market, not just the bigger players. A salmonella outbreak is not excusable simply because it derives from a small producer.
"If there is a problem with the administration of the regulations or the cost to smaller producers, then let's deal with that as a separate issue.
"What's good for the goose has to be good for the gander."
At Freeranger Eggs, we agree with those sentiments. If backyard producers squeal at the imaginary cost of stamping eggs, they can talk to the Government. In NSW the Government there undertook to provide hand held stampers to small producers.

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