Last week Australian Egg Corporation launched an attack on consumer advocacy group CHOICE accusing them of misleading consumers about stocking densities for layer hens and claiming that their actions will increase the price of eggs as high as $12.80 per dozen.
“Simply outrageous claims,” says Lee McCosker Chief Operating Officer for Humane Choice. “Egg Corporation is very worried about the power the consumer has on the issue of defining free range egg labels and with a reported 1,200 submissions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on this very issue, Egg Corp have good reason to worry. The only defence they have left is to attack organisations backing the consumer.”
Australian Egg Corporation have put all their eggs into one basket and had hoped that their new and erroneous interpretation of the Model Code would go unnoticed. The Model Code clearly states: “Outdoors for layer hens a maximum of 1,500 birds per hectare.”
The Model Code is not the only guideline stipulating stocking rates for free range hens. The Environmental Guidelines for the Australian Egg Industry also requires that free range hens “should not have a stocking density in excess of 1,500 birds/ha.”
“We believe the egg industry plans to line the pockets of the big players in this industry have been exposed and know they are pulling out all the stops to keep them on track, even if that means ignoring what the consumer has to say on this matter,” says McCosker.
“There is a much simpler solution and one that will preserve the integrity of the free range industry, and steer it off this path of destruction. We need another egg category to define the production systems that Egg Corporation is promoting. I am sure the money spent defending their current actions could be put to much better use”, suggests McCosker.