Saturday, December 10, 2016

ACCC may ignore Ministers' new 'Free Range' standard

Great news for free range egg farmers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is ignoring the intensive 'free range' egg standard approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs and may press ahead with prosecutions against producers who breach the standards identified in Federal Court decisions. In its Enforcement Guidance for the egg industry on Free Range claims, it says “use of the descriptor ‘free range’ requires, at least, that the hens are able to move about freely on an open range on most days, and that most of the hens do so. the ACCC rejects claims by some that it is OK to tell consumers that the eggs are from free range hens when the outdoor range is not regularly used by the hens because the farming practices are such that the hens stay indoors all or most of the time. Producers do not have to use the label ‘free range’. Producers choose to describe their eggs as free range to promote their products and consumers are generally willing to pay a premium for free range eggs. it is open to producers to market their eggs under different labels, such as barn-laid or cage-free, where their practices do not meet consumer expectations for free range.” It's a pity the Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the federal Small Business Minister are too dumb to understand the problem.

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