The free range egg industry in Australia is facing a crisis of classification with laws surrounding definitions of “free range” egg products being ambiguous.
CHOICE's recent survey highlighted that consumers will happily pay a premium for free-range eggs in the belief that they meet ethical standards, paying almost double the amount for free-range eggs than for cage eggs.
But there's no guarantee you're getting what you pay for, as our report into the free-range egg industry found. Choice found around 213 million of the free-range eggs on the market have stocking densities higher than the Model Code of Practice.
In WA, the Code of Practice for Poultry is voluntary.
The Code states that hens housed in “free range” facilities must have access to an “outdoor range” for eight hours a day, and that the outdoor stocking density for hens must not exceed 1,500 chickens per hectare, unless ranges are rotated.
Recently, the Federal Government has released a consultation paper investigating the policy options to increase consumer certainty about egg labelling.
It is time for truth in labelling and for Australian consumers to have information that they need for their purchasing decisions.