26 April 2017

Information standard provides clarity in free-range egg labelling

CONSUMERS will now have the information they need to make informed choices when it comes to purchasing free-range eggs thanks to a new information standard registered under the Australian Consumer Law, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.

“As the Minister Responsible for Consumer Affairs, I want to ensure Australians are fully informed when they purchase products,” Mr McCormack said.

“The new free-range egg labelling information standard gives Australians more information about the eggs on supermarket shelves, so they can make an informed choice when choosing between available brands.

“The new standard will also remove uncertainty faced by producers who choose to label their eggs free-range.”

Minister McCormack said the new standard was reached after many months of consultation with industry and consumer groups, with hundreds of submissions received during public consultations.

“Eggs are a staple ingredient in the average family’s weekly grocery basket,” Mr McCormack said.

“Prices widely vary depending on a number of factors including the use of a free-range label.

“Today’s information standard will require eggs labelled as free-range to have been laid by hens that had meaningful and regular access to the outdoors and with an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens, or less, per hectare.

“The stocking density will need to be prominently displayed on the packaging to allow easy comparison between different eggs on supermarket shelves.

“While a number of stakeholders argued for this stocking density to be lower, my decision takes into consideration the views of consumers, advocacy groups and industry, and provides a sensible balance with a focus on informing consumers – so they can make the choice that’s right for their needs.”

The Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling) Information Standard 2017 has been registered and can be found at the Federal Register of Legislation website.