The text of a draft for the new information standard for free-range egg labelling was released for public consultation today, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack has announced.
Following extensive consultation with industry and consumer stakeholders, Australia’s State and Territory Consumer Affairs Ministers agreed to the introduction of an information standard on 31 March 2016.
“This information standard will give consumers more information about the ‘free-range’ eggs available on supermarket shelves, making it simpler to compare brands. It will also remove uncertainty faced by producers who choose to label their eggs ‘free-range’,” Mr McCormack said.
The information standard will require eggs labelled ‘free-range’ to have been laid by hens which 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.
Mr McCormack said the Federal Government is focused on achieving a balance which ensures consumers can access better information about eggs on supermarket shelves whilst complying producers are protected from claims of misleading or deceptive conduct.
“Feedback from stakeholders helped form the draft and the Government encourages further consultation to ensure Australia’s egg labelling laws reflect producer and consumer opinions,” Mr McCormack said.
“Hundreds of submissions and comments were received in response to the policy design public consultation earlier this year. The release of the information standard draft text will give stakeholders another opportunity to comment on the technical aspects of the text.
“I encourage all interested parties to make a submission. It is important that both consumers and business benefit from the clarity the information standard will provide.”
The consultation paper is available on the Treasury website. Submissions can be lodged until 9 December 2016.