The Greens say the long-awaited release of the Consumer Affairs Ministers' Free Range Egg Labelling Consultation Paper may spell more confusion for consumers with options ranging from ‘do nothing’ to the consideration of two new egg labels.
The Greens are calling on consumers and genuine free-range famers to have their say on the options outlined in the “Free Range Egg Labelling” Consultation Paper which can be viewed at http://j.mp/FR-eggs-consult-paper
"Bringing this deception to an end will require a high free-range egg standard enshrined in consumer law.
"The paper rightly argues that no egg should be labelled 'free range' unless the birds have had genuine access to the outdoors on most days.
"However none of the options proposed will really protect consumers and free range farmers and provide a better standard for the hens.
“The consultation paper includes two new labels that would potentially dilute the ‘free-range’ category and confuse consumers.
“Even the ‘premium’ free-range label allows painful de-beaking, despite being targeted at consumers who want to escape the appalling treatment of animals.
“Farmers who have been doing the right thing by their customers and by animals should not be left to shoulder the cost of implementing a new ‘premium free-range’ labelling regime.
“Clear and accurate information is critical for helping consumers choose eggs that are in line with their ethics.
“It is crucial that any new labels like ‘access to range’ are not used to trick consumers into buying eggs that don’t meet their expectations.
“‘Do nothing’ should never have been included as an option. This would give the intensive egg producers the Australian government’s stamp of approval to continue to exploit well-meaning consumers,” said Senator Rhiannon.