MP Pushes for Free Range Eggs Change03 April 2012
AUSTRALIA - Proposed legislation in South Australia will try to outlaw selling eggs as free range if they are from a farm which has more than 1,500 hens per hectare.
ABC News reports that opposition MP Michael Pengilly is pushing the private member's bill proposing a change to the Food Act.
It would drastically lower the planned standard from industry body, the Egg Corporation, of 20,000 chooks per hectare.
There is a similar law in Queensland and moves in Western Australia and New South Wales to adopt 1,500 birds per hectare as the benchmark.
Mr Pengilly said the Egg Corporation's standard would short-change consumers.
"The true free range egg which people want to buy and which they pay a premium for is what I'm on about," he said.
"I have no argument whatsoever with big egg producers, that's not the point of the bill.
"This is a labelling bill for free range eggs and it stands on its own."
Solar Eggs managing director Jonathan Attard thinks changing the SA law would give a commercial advantage to interstate producers who farm at much higher densities.
"If we turn around and restrict ourselves, all of a sudden we'll see a continual flood of interstate eggs and we won't be able to compete with them and won't keep this state on a level playing field," he said.