Saturday, June 07, 2014

Free Range debate still raging in South Australia

The South Australian Government is still to finalise its voluntary free range egg production scheme.  The sticking points appear to be establishing the accreditation and inspection processes and the costs involved for poducers.  Minister for Business Services Gail   Gago has said "there is currently no national enforceable definition of free range eggs. I have participated in national forums, ministerial council forums—most of which have now been disbanded by the current Liberal federal government—and I know that this issue has been on and off that agenda for many years. Although it has been strongly pushed and championed by South Australia—because our view has always been that the best way to proceed was through a nationally consistent approach, through a national code and national standards—unfortunately we have not been able to get other jurisdictions on board, so we failed to progress a national code.

I still believe that is the best way forward. I do not think it shows much possibility in the current climate, so South Australia is getting on with this other alternate scheme. Cabinet has approved the drafting of an industry code under the Fair Trading Act 1987, and it will require producers to meet standards, including a maximum stocking density of 1,500 layer eggs per hectare, unrestricted access to outside areas for a minimum of eight hours per day, outdoor areas to provide adequate shelter, and a prohibition on induced moulting". Minister Gago said 
We still hope that a national standard will be established.

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