Consumers have forked out for a billboard that calls for Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer to “stop the free range egg rip-off”.
Consumer advocacy organisation unveiled the billboard, located in O’Dwyer’s the Victorian electorate, which was funded by 866 individuals who donated over $26,000.
which calls on her to end the free-range egg rip-off and deliver a standard that meets consumers’ expectations.
“The Assistant Treasurer has an opportunity to crack the free-range farce once and for all by creating a meaningful egg standard,” says Choice spokesperson Tom Godfrey.
Minister O’Dwyer along with several other federal, state and territory ministers are expected to make a decision on a free-range egg standard early this year.
“Consumers want free-range claims to mean something in Australia. At the moment, many claims are little more than cynical marketing slogans used to contrive a price premium,” says Godfrey.
"The support for the billboard further highlights how passionate consumers are about this issue and their firm views on what free-range should mean. They want a standard to reflect these expectations.
“With free-range eggs costing almost twice the price of caged, an accurate standard is needed to give consumers confidence when paying a price premium. A standard should not be used to shield producers who might be misleading consumers.”
Choice is calling for:
At a minimum, a national information standard should require that eggs labelled ‘free-range’ are produced in farms where:
- The majority of chickens actually go outside regularly
- Birds have room to move comfortably when outdoors
- Birds have room to move comfortably inside the barn
- Farmers undertake animal welfare practices
Any products that don’t meet these minimum requirements should be labelled in a way that accurately reflects how they were produced, for example ‘access to range’.
Adopting this recommendation would result in four categories: Free-range; Access to range; Barn: and Cage.