South Australian shoppers will know that they are buying true free range eggs, after the Government confirmed a code for the industry today.
Minister for Business Services and Consumers said there was strong support from egg producers and the community during consultation for a free-range cap of 1,500 hens per hectare.
“When South Australian shoppers buy their free range eggs, they will know they are getting the best,” Mr Rau said.
“This means that the eggs will come from real free range properties with no more than 1,500 hens per hectare.
“In contrast, Queensland free range eggs can be up to 10,000 hens per hectare and no other state provides a legal definition.
“This gives South Australian egg producers an advantage, as shoppers looking for real free range eggs will buy South Australian eggs more regularly.
For producers to access the South Australian Free Range accreditation, they must meet the following requirements:
• A maximum of 1,500 laying hens per hectare in a free range system;
• induced moulting is not permitted;
• hens have access to range outdoors for a minimum of eight (8) hours per day; and
• sufficient overhead shade should be provided to encourage hens to access the range.
An accreditation logo will now be developed and will appear on egg cartons that meet the requirements by early next year.
Mr Rau said that an industry code achieves the desired outcomes of South Australian egg producers and that legislation is not required.
“There are those within the Parliament that want us to legislate for a free range standard – Queensland has shown that this does not provide certainty for producers or consumers,” Mr Rau said.
“Queensland recently changed their stocking density from 1,500 to 10,000 hens per hectare via regulation.
“South Australia is committed to a stocking density of 1,500 and that’s what we are locking in behind today.”