3,101 consumers say no to redefining current free-range limits
Over 3,000 consumers have called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to reject the Australian Egg Corporation Limited’s proposal to raise free range stocking densities.
The open letter with 3,101 signatures was sent to the ACCC along with CHOICE’s submission opposing the Egg Corporation’s application for a Certification Trade Mark.
“A certification trade mark is supposed to give consumers confidence that the product they’re buying meets accepted standards,” says CHOICE Head of Campaigns Matt Levey.
“However, the Egg Corporation’s proposal does just the opposite by taking the current free-range maximum stocking density and increasing it 13 times.”
The Egg Corporation is seeking approval for rules which include a free-range maximum stocking density of 20,000 birds per hectare.
The current maximum under the voluntary ‘Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry’ is 1,500 birds per hectare and is reflected in Queensland legislation and existing certification schemes.
“If it was approved, the Egg Corporation’s logo would lend free-range labels an aura of authenticity when in fact they may have come from hens packed in at densities substantially greater than the current definition,” says Mr Levey.
“We are calling on the ACCC to reject the Egg Corporation’s proposal in the interests of protecting consumers and also to maintain a competitive market where genuine free-range producers are not disadvantaged.”
CHOICE believes a national and consistent standard based on research by independent animal welfare experts is needed to give consumers confidence they are getting what they pay for when they buy free range eggs.
CHOICE’s free-range submission to the ACCC is available at www.choice.com.au/freerangesub