Confusion surrounding what defines a free range egg is one step closer to being resolved, with the release of a draft code, regulations and trademark for further consultation.
Minister for Business Services and Consumers Gail Gago said consumers have the right to know precisely what they are buying.
“There has been much debate and frustration from both industry and consumers about what defines free range in South Australia,” Ms Gago said.
“We have undertaken a lot work to produce a regulatory scheme that will provide consumers with guidance in selecting South Australian free range eggs without restricting or affecting the industry.
“What we have drafted is a voluntary code, where egg producers who meet our free range conditions will receive a trademarked tick of approval.”
The South Australian Cabinet today approved the draft Fair Trading (SA Free Range Egg Industry Code) Regulations and associated trademark.
The Code outlines that in order to receive the endorsement, providers must meet conditions such as:
- a maximum density of 1,500 layer hens per hectare on the outdoor range
- hens to have unrestricted access to outdoor areas during daylight hours
- outdoor areas to provide adequate shelter; and
- a prohibition on induced moulting by food deprivation
“An effective and fair regulatory scheme cannot be made or implemented in haste and there is still more work to be done. We will be working with stakeholders and egg producers to seek
their feedback on the draft voluntary code and trademark.”
The national body that administers legislation governing trademarks, IP Australia, is required to examine the proposed trademark to ensure it doesn’t conflict with existing trademarks.
Also, the ACCC must assess and approve the rules for the use of the trademark to ensure it is not detriment to the public, likely to raise concerns relating to competition, unconscionable conduct, unfair practices and product safety.