Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Does the egg industry need a Quality Assurance scheme?

The Australian Egg Corporation really is a law unto itself. A letter arrived today advising that a consultant had been appointed 'to help provide AECL with clarity on whether a national industry based Quality Assurance scheme is required by egg producers.'
What the .... !!!!!!!

AECL has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of members funds in developing its ill-fated Egg Standards Australia debacle which was rejected by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Wouldn't it have been sensible to find out if the scheme was wanted or needed before spending all that dough?

In the letter, AECL asks three questions:
1.should the egg industry have a QA scheme?
2. if so, should AECL offer such a scheme?
3. if the answer is yes, then 'how' should the scheme be offered, taking account of structure and resources?

Well in response to those questions:

1. No. What's important is to have a national standard reflecting provisions in the Model Code. The industry needs clear definitions covering production types (cage, barn and free range) and those definitions must be enshrined in legislation to prevent the sort of nonsense which the corporate egg industry has been getting away with for years. The only other real requirement is meeting food safety regulations which are in place in all States.

2. No. AECL has demonstrated its incompetence with its 20,000 hens per hectare stocking density proposal for free range farms. Farms can readily develop their own QA schemes having regard to an enforceable Model Code (or its successor) and State Food Safety Regulations. As a lobby group, there is no place for AECL to have any involvement in the implementation or oversight of any such scheme. There are already Food Safety Regulations in place with compliance administered by State Governments and local councils - there is no need for this process to be duplicated.

Will AECL take any notice? I doubt it.

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