Monday, June 04, 2007

Illegal eggs sold at markets

I had a reasonable day selling our free range eggs at the Kongwak market in South Gippsland today, but it was interesting that at least three other stalls were selling eggs.
It is potentially a real problem for consumers, as even though the number of bodgy eggs was small - probably around 15 dozen in total - consumers are at risk.
The eggs were packed in second hand cartons (which is illegal), they did not met labelling requirements and none of the sellers had food safety programs in place.
The biggest problem for us is that if consumers get sick from eating eggs and they say they bought them at one of the markets where we are the only 'official' egg sellers, we will have to convince health authorities that the eggs were not ours.
It is still a significant issue as the cost of compliance with food safety regulations (including labelling, using new cartons, candeling and grading requirements, refrigeration etc) all add to our costs. The backyard operators ignore all those regulations.
Given the number of markets held each week in Victoria, it's likely that at least 5000 dozen 'illegal' eggs are dumped on consumers at markets. That's around 260,000 dozen a year in the State of Victoria alone - probably more than a million dozen throughout Australia.

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