In 2012 we surveyed our members and found that 85% said it’s essential or important that the eggs they buy are free range. Many of the 85% said bird welfare is one of the reasons for that choice.
When you buy free range, you should have confidence that the eggs are what you expect. Certification standards exist, but the detail and requirements of these schemes vary. The maximum outdoor stocking densities allowed under each scheme can range from 750 to 10,000 chickens per hectare, and the industry has admitted to ‘free range’ production at over 20,000 birds per hectare.
The national Model Code of Practice defines 'free range egg production' as a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1,500 chickens per hectare. But the code is voluntary.
NSW consumers can use a website designed to help consumers with egg labelling information. But the information it uses comes from a dubious interpretation of the code.
This just amplifies the need for an agreed national standard.
NSW Fair Trading is currently leading a process to develop a national information standard on free range eggs.
We're campaigning for a consistent national free range standard. One that's based on independent research and consumer expectations.
We’ll be feeding into NSW Fair Trading’s national standard. Stay updated on the process here.