Greens urge SA Labor Government to stand up for true free range Egg farmers
During Question Time today, Ms Franks called on the Weatherill Government to stand up for a national free range standard of 1500 (rather than 10,000 per hectare stocking density and support the Choice campaign to “Give a Cluck” https://goo.gl/34osnb
Ms Franks stated: “Consumer group CHOICE estimates that 213 million eggs each year are sold as “free range” do not actually meet basic consumer expectations of free range. Currently, there are no uniform national standards around the labelling of free range eggs.
“This has created a situation where true free range egg producers, who meet standards such as the 1500 hens per hectare, are being disadvantaged because they are having to compete against operators with much larger stocking densities, such as 10,000 hens per hectare.
“An upcoming meeting of state, territory and federal government ministers to resolve the issue looks set to favour the fake end of town in these eggs wars if the words of Agriculture Minister, Barnanby Joyce, are to be belived,” she warned.
A Fairfax Media article dated March 3rd 2016 stated that “Mr (Barnaby) Joyce said he and Ms (Kelly) O’Dwyer had resolved the egg labelling issue between them and the upcoming meeting with the States would be the final tick-off point – but he didn’t want to upset that process, by announcing anything beforehand.”
Ms Franks stated: “It’s time that the Weatherill Government stood up on the national stage for South Australian true free range producers and for consumers and strongly support a national true free range definition of 1,500 the same as the state voluntary labels. No more excuses, no more delays.
If a national agreement can’t be reached the SA can go it alone, as the ACT has done, and simply label the shop shelves in our state to ensure that if it says free range on the shelf in SA we as consumers know for certain that the eggs on that carton are true free range. We can do that by supporting the Greens bill to label shelves in our state regardless of what the national meeting decides. Under the current system, consumers, producers and hens are getting ripped off.
The South Australian industry code proposed by the Government in 2013 defined strict guidelines for “free range”, including a stocking density of no more than 1,500 layer hens per hectare on the outdoor range, hens having unrestricted access to outdoor areas during daylight hours, outdoor areas with adequate shelter and a prohibition on induced moulting.