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Egg producer fined record $750,000 over free range claims

CHOICE welcomes largest ever free range egg fine for misleading consumers

25 July 2017

Consumer group CHOICE has welcomed the Federal Court's decision to fine WA egg producer Snowdale Holdings a record $750,000 for misleading consumers over its free range egg claims.

"Today's ruling shows how hard it is for consumers to have confidence in free range egg labels in supermarkets," says CHOICE Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.

"Despite the introduction of a national standard for free range earlier this year, it's still very likely consumers are paying a premium for eggs that don't meet their expectations.

"The sad fact is that there are plenty of eggs labelled free range that come from hens kept in cramped conditions, with no requirement for them to ever go outside.

"Packing hens into sheds or creating situations where most hens can't realistically go outside is a long way from consumers' expectations when they think of free range.

"We'd urge consumers who want to buy free range eggs to download the newly updated and free CluckAR app, and scan cartons to find out whether they pass the CHOICE free range egg test or if they are part of credible third-party certification schemes.

"CHOICE's app also highlights if egg brands have previously been fined for misleading consumers, such as eggs under the Snowdale brand."

Snowdale sells to Coles and Woolworths under a number of brands including Eggs by Ellah, Swan Valley Free Range and Wanneroo Free Range. The Court found that most of the hens from Snowdale's sheds did not go outside as the farming conditions significantly inhibited them from doing so.

"Consumers should have confidence that the term 'free range' reflects their reasonable expectation that hens spend time outside, have room to move inside and out, and that farmers employ animal welfare practices. [1]

To find eggs that meet the CHOICE free range egg test, download our free CluckAR app at newthings.choice.com.au/cluckar/

To Boycott bad free range eggs, join the CHOICE campaign here: choice.com.au/freerange    

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

CHOICE research

CHOICE's research has shown that 213 million eggs were sold as free range in 2014 that didn't meet consumers' expectations.[2] The Consumer Affairs Ministers' decision means that consumers could be paying a premium of between $21 million and $43 million per year for eggs labelled "free range" that don't live up to the claim.[3]


[1] CHOICE, 2015, Submission to Consumer Affairs on Free Range Egg Labelling

[2] Free range Eggs: Making the Claim Meaningful, 2015

[3] Free Range Egg Labelling Consultation Paper, 2016