Saturday, October 11, 2014

Big problems for egg farmers if they follow Bede Burke's advice

From the Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth

A LOCAL egg industry expert says many producers are worried about their ability to deal with two major changes facing

their industry nationally – a legal definition of free-range eggs, and egg stamping.

while egg stamping has already started to be rolled out nationally and is set to come into force in NSW on November 26, a legal definition of freerange eggs will not be decided upon for several years.

A spokesman for federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said a national framework was “still quite a while away

... preparing these standards is expected to take a number of years to complete”.

The consumer affairs ministers’ forum, set to meet early next year, would “not consider a draft standard next year – it would be a progress update to consider how to proceed”, the spokesman said.

The chairman of the NSW Farmers’ egg committee, Bede Burke, who lives at Winton, said any definition of free range had to ultimately help producers.

It’s absolutely necessary, but it needs to be paralleled with how those four million (free-range) birds are currently housed,” Mr Burke said.

He said many producers had spent the past three to five years spending a lot of money changing infrastructure to comply with the existing code of practice.

If the code was changed “dramatically”, it would mean producers would have to “rethink whether to put (more)

capital in ... farmers need to re-evaluate whether they’re going to stay in the industry”, he said.

The definition by the code of practice was very loose and that’s where we’ve got these problems,” he said.

Mr Burke said outdoor stocking density was one of the biggest issues regarding what qualified as free range.

It’s a very emotive issue and it is an issue people don’t understand well,” he said.
comment by Freeranger Eggs:
What Bede Burke doesn't understand (or pretends he doesn't understand is that the Model Code currently imposes a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 per hectare for free range laying hens. It's only in the last five of six years that 'smart' operators in the industry have tried to claim that the Model Code sets no maximum limit.
The problem for the rest of us is that the corporate industry is able to exert great political pressure. Bede Burke has the ear of Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce (they were at school together).

Those of us who care about the future of the egg industry need to let the Ministers for Fair Trading know that industry heavyweights are talking nonsense

Contrary to Bede Burke's ravings, this is what AECL Managing director James Kellawsay has been telling egg farmers:
'This decision is directed to the industry practice of labelling of "free range" eggs and provides guidelines for the lawful usage of such term.

The judgement has some very important ramifications for free range egg farming, as it is now law. The judgement defines, to a degree, what free range egg farming is.

As a result, I urge you all to read the judgement carefully and take any necessary steps to ensure you comply.'


Keith said...

As the date by which all eggs for retail sale must be stamped in Victoria approaches we find that many small retailers and some not so small like our local IGA are unaware that they cannot sell unstamped eggs after November 26. We have also observed that many small-medium egg producers still are not stamping their eggs and most notable are many suspect ‘free range’ producers.

We have started advising our local retailers of the coming change and are astounded that most had no idea of their exposure if they sell unstamped eggs after November 26. They also now realise that any eggs in stock on that date will need to be dumped. We all share a responsibility to let people know of the change. The Victorian Department of Health has a web page that explains the law.203

freeranger said...

Yes Keith, retailers need to be aware of the need for eggs to be stamped, and those farms which don't comply will also face problems.