Monday, July 29, 2019

Egg substitution rife in Australia

It has been officially established by enquiries into recent salmonella outbreaks that it is common practice in the industry for eggs to be acquired from a variety of sources and packaged with a single label for distribution to supermarkets. The NSW Department of Primary Industries has revealed something that the industry has known about for years. The introduction of egg stamping was supposed to ensure the traceability of eggs back the property on which they were laid. But  after lobbying by big producers and supermarkets, politicians changed the requirement for on-farm stamping and now allow stamps to be applied at the time eggs are packaged by major grading floors. The ACCC  has a wide range of information following successful prosecutions in the Federal Court. There is no doubt that egg substitution has been rife for decades. Major sellers package eggs from wherever they can get them and sell through supermarkets. The producers justify this by saying that they are required to meet the supply demands from major retailers.  If they don’t send enough eggs each week, the producers risk losing their contracts.  That’s why no genuine free range eggs can be found in supermarkets – they simply don’t have enough volume to meet supermarket demands. The ACCC tried to solve the problems and a series of Federal Court decisions on free range production highlighted the issues to such an extent that politicians stepped in to protect producers from prosecution. The egg labelling standard they introduced endorsed deception by the industry. The WA Government is looking at tightening regulations there in an effort of protect consumers – but no other States appear to be interested. The recent Salmonella scare demonstrated the problem of traceability when producers package eggs from many places across the country without revealing the source.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Salmonella Enteritidis workshops for egg farmers - identifying the risks

A biosecurity training session for Victorian egg farmers will be held at Attwood, Melbourne on August 8. the training will focus on the recent Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) outbreak and will be run by Dr Yoni Segal, the principal veterinary officer for poultry. The NSW Dept of Primary Industries, Biosecurity and Food safety says there are theories about how SE came onto farms and a paper is expected to be written on the subject. It says farm biosecurity is critical. Sunlight kills the SE bacteria, so properly run free range farms with low stocking densities have little risk of suffering the problems encountered by industrial production systems.A biosecurity manual is available from Australian Eggs, or from the Freeranger Club page on the Freeranger Eggs website. Australian Eggs is also holding an SE workshop at Attwood, on August 27 so they are taking the issue seriously.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New egg carton supplier

We have found a new supplier of egg cartons, relatively close to the farm. Anne picked up 1500 plain cartons in Dandenong on her way to visit friends in the City. Our previous supplier had closed down in Clayton, so we thought we may have to truck cartons from Preston, Footscray or Laverton. Although cartons are a modest cost compared with all the others such as feed and compliance costs imposed by red tape, it is significant to be able to collect our cartons as we need them.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Quality eggs and size are all about nutrition and management

We are frequently asked why our eggs are so large as well as being tasty. The answer is simple, all hens start egg production laying Small eggs – around 40g or so and gradually increase to a mature egg grade size of Medium (60g) Large (80g) or bigger. They generally begin to lay 15 – 17 weeks after hatching With modern breeds, such as Isa Browns, most hens lay Large or Extra Large eggs by the time they are 40 weeks old. While there is a basic pattern of how egg size changes as hens age, feeding and management have a major impact on egg size. Management factors in controlling egg size include hen body weight. Larger eggs tend to be laid by larger hens weighing about 2 kg. Total access to quality pasture and a balanced ration of natural grains with a protein content of at least 17.5% will ensure good hen health, egg quality and size.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Victorian Government workshops to help streamline planning process for poultry and pig farms

Agriculture Victoria is hosting a series of free workshops to help new and existing small-scale pig and poultry producers prepare a land use planning permit application. participants will be eligible for the supporting grants program of up to $3,000 for expenses related to on-farm works, consultancy, or training that supports the preparation of a land use planning permit application. For details contact Ann McDowell

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Starting freerange egg farm webinars cancelled

Unfortunately the series of webinars on starting free range egg farms has been cancelled. The first was scheduled for World Egg Day this year - October 10, but has been halted by the failure of a crowd funding campaign. It was hoped to raise $8000 to prepare the webinars to a professional standard with effective graphics and video content. It was planned to develop webinars suitable for a range of climatic conditions and regions to encourage the establishment of small scale poultry farms across the globe.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Australia's food standards need to improve

Australia’s food safety standards are being questioned. World Food Safety Day was held on June 7 and the Food Safety Information Council released a report card detailing Australia’s food safety record. There are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year, which translates into about 16 out of every 100 people The 4.1 million cases result in an average of 31,920 hospitalizations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors. Recent recalls of milk and eggs from supermarkets has added to consumer problems. There is a clear need for an overhaul at Food Standards Australia New Zealand.