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.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Floods cause havoc in West Gippsland

Only 12 stallholders (and not many more customers) made it to Churchill Island Farmers' Market on Saturday because the roads were cut by flood water from heavy rain on Thursday and Friday.

The South Gippsland Highway was closed at Tooradin and Lang Lang and many side roads were impassable. The only way for people to get from Melbourne was via Warragul - which turned a one and a half hour drive into three hours or more.

Worse than that, one of the members of the Free Range Farmers Association at Tooradin was flooded and we now have 300 of his chooks on our farm with another 300 coming tomorrow.  Refugees from the floods!

It was a bit of challenge getting sheds and a paddock ready - but not as much of a challenge as he faced.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Servicing the egg delivery van

I took the Holden Combo delivery van in for its 30,000km service yesterday. Booked it in to a Holden dealership.
The service salesman did his usual stuff and convinced me that apart from the basic logbook service,brake fluid should be changed and the airconditioning checked and re-gassed. All extra costs of course.

Then an hour or so later I had a call to say that they thought the wiper blades should be replaced - at an additional cost of $90 because now it's not just a matter of replacing the wiper rubbers - the wiper arms come as a unit and the whole lot has to be changed. Anyway, I was a bit busy so I said OK.
My meeting finished earlier than expected, but the van wasn't scheduled to be ready for collection until 2 pm. I wandered past the dealer just after 11 am and could see the van parked outside.

It was still in the same position at 2 pm - so I could have picked it up at 11am - which would have been great. They had finished the service, but they didn't ring because they were waiting on the wipers to be delivered. When they finally arrived at around 2 pm - they were the wrong ones. I was asked if I wanted to wait while they got the proper ones in. I quickly declined that option !! They took the $90 off the $600 bill.

When I got into the van, there was a note about a tyre check hanging from the interior mirror. Their assessment was that the rear tyres were fine at least until the next scheduled service, but the tread on the front tyres indicted that they should be replaced prior to that service. The problem with that was that one of the front tyres was brand new. It had been the spare and was fitted for the first time about six weeks earlier following a puncture.

Talk about drumming up business !

Egg Corp on the run

For anyone who has missed it, full details of the Egg Corporation's Egg Standards Australia application to the ACCC can be found here:

There is still time to make a submission as the deadline has been extended.

The Egg Corporation has at last realised that it has a problem and is using spurious arguments to urge its members to make submissions. Quite a few already have sent in their concerns about the proposals because they realise the damage which the Australian Egg Corporation has caused the industry.

Many cage farmers recognise that the proposals put forward will only benefit the major supermarket chains and the corporate producers who control AECL.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Energy Globe website now has all the 2012 winners up

The Energy Globe website has all the national winners posted.  Have a look at Freeranger Eggs at:

Grantville isn't exactly the Australian Outback ... and we don't claim to be organic ... but apart from that everything is fine.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Card campaign on stocking density

As well as submissions, letters and signatures on petitions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission urging it to reject the Egg Standards Australia proposal lodged by the Australian Egg Corporation, postcards are being distributed asking the NSW Government to support truth in labelling legislation.
A Bill has passed the Upper House and it's important to persuade the NSW O'Farrell Government to support the Bill in the Lower House.  If it gets up (and a similar Bill in the SA Parliament) it will stop the Egg Corporation from any further attempts to mislead consumers and damage the egg industry by allowing high density producers to describe their eggs as 'free range'.
We will have the postcards at the Coal Creek Farmers' Maket today, at Inverloch next week and at Churchill Island the following Saturday.
We are also making them available at several of the retail outlets in our region.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Egg Corp plans explained

The Free Range Farmers Association has set up a page on its website to explain the proposals on stocking density being pushed by the Australian Egg Corporation.
The page is at
and we urge all egg producers and consumers to contact the ACCC asking for the proposed Trade Mark and the Egg Standards Australia proposal to be rejected.
If the new standard is approved, the flow-on effects for the rest of industry will be significant and consumers will be totally unable to trust labels on egg cartons.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fake eggs in China

Following some serious food contamination issues in China - including lacing milk with melamine to increase protein levels - fake eggs have now been discovered. Maybe it will give the Australian Egg Corporation ideas?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

BFREPA talks about AECL's deception

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association says that research carried out by the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) is at the centre of a war of words over attempts to introduce a huge increase in permitted external stocking densities on Australian free range egg units.