Sunday, February 04, 2018
Sunny Queen joins 'free range' fight
Major Australian egg company Sunny Queen which sells more than 70 million eggs a year, labelled cage, barn and free range, has admitted that an outdoor stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare is the accepted standard for free range production. Speaking on ABC television's Landline programme, Managing Director John O'Hara said "the free-range market will grow for a "little while longer before plateauing." The Queensland-based company has set up a new free range operation meeting the stocking density recommended in the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry), but it still buys and packages eggs from independent suppliers who run their hens at much higher densities. The company says that demand for cage eggs has slumped in the last decade from 70 per cent of sales to 55 per cent, with eggs labelled as 'free-range' now taking 40 per cent of the market in Australia.Buyers should be aware that most eggs labelled as free range in major supermarkets do not meet consumer expectations. Stay away from supermarkets if you want free range eggs.