The ACCC’s initial assessment was informed by over 1700 submissions from consumers, egg producers, industry associations and consumer and animal welfare organisations. The focus of submissions was on provisions involving the production of ‘free range’ eggs under the rules.
“The strong public interest in this matter shows that consumers want clear and accurate labelling of eggs and the ACCC considers that the Australian Egg Corporation’s Certification Trade Mark proposal may be misleading,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
This is because the proposed rules would allow eggs to be certified as ‘free range’ in circumstances where:
- The proposed outdoor stocking densities are very significantly higher than those in existing standards;
- Only a very small proportion of birds actually venture onto the range at any one time; and
- The animal management practice of beak trimming is routinely practised.
“The ACCC considers that these practices and standards do not accord with consumer expectations about the free range production of eggs” Commissioner Court said.