Greens Consumer Affairs spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC has today introduced legislation in Parliament that will finally give certainty to consumers by regulating the display of eggs for sale.
The Eggs (Display for Retail Sale) Bill 2015 will require supermarket shelves to be labelled with prescribed definitions for ‘free-range’, ‘barn eggs’ and ‘cage eggs’ – definitions that are in keeping with the national Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals.
Ms Franks said the Bill was an important reform that would assist consumers to make an informed choice when buying their eggs.
“The question remains, why, if it says ‘free range’ on the egg carton, are the eggs inside that carton not guaranteed to be true ‘free range’?” she asked.
“Consumers are being dudded – and it’s time to crack the free-range egg rort.
“I introduced legislation in both 2012 and 2013 to overcome the free-range egg labelling sham, but thanks to the Government voting down this legislation, we still have a situation where we don’t have a legally enforceable definition of ‘free-range’.
“This Bill would overcome that challenge because it would no longer matter what the carton says. Consumers will be able to look at the ‘free range’ shelf, ‘barn eggs’ shelf and ‘cage eggs’ shelf and understand what those different definitions mean, regardless of how that producer is marketing itself.
“This would finally ensure that there is a level playing field for true free range producers, who can’t compete against fake range.
“This solution can and has worked elsewhere. This legislation has been in force in the ACT since 2001 and we will be working hard to finally offer some surety to consumers around what they’re buying.
“If you’re paying more for good animal welfare practices, then you deserve true free-range eggs.”
The Eggs (Display for Retail Sale) Bill 2015:
– Sets out three different categories of eggs and requires retail outlets to display the prescribed definitions on the shelf;
– Puts in place non-compliance fines of up to $5000.