9 December 2014
CHOICE has welcomed the ACCC’s decision to take the supplier of Ecoeggs to court for alleged false and misleading free-range claims.
Ecoeggs was previously called out by CHOICE, who awarded the company a Shonky in 2013 for having a stocking density of 20,000 hens per hectare – more than 13 times higher than the accepted voluntary free-range standard.
“The ACCC’s actions send a clear message that the big free-range egg rip-off needs to end,” says CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications, Matt Levey.
“Unfortunately, without an enforceable national standard, many Australians continue to pay a premium for eggs labelled ‘free range’ with little confidence they are getting the real deal.
“Egg cartons might display pictures of happy chooks roaming in sunlit pastures, but the reality behind these marketing claims is sometimes very different,” Mr Levey says.
The ACCC has targeted producers Derodi Pty Ltd and Holland Farms Pty Ltd, alleging that their use of ‘free range’ in relation to their Ecoeggs, Field Fresh and Port Stephens egg brands was false and misleading. According to the ACCC, the hens used to produce the eggs for Ecoeggs were not able to move about freely on an open range on an ordinary day because of the farming practices and conditions of the farms where the hens were kept. This case follows two other instances of the ACCC taking egg producers to court.
CHOICE is calling for an enforceable national information standard on free-range eggs that meets consumers’ expectations to stop Australians getting ripped off.
“Eggs claiming to be free-range cost up to twice as much as cage eggs despite the wide variation in how they are produced. A national standard will help us unscramble the meaning of free-range, benefiting consumers and genuine free-range producers across the country,” Mr Levey says.