ACCC jumps gun on free range egg process

NSW Farmers is disappointed that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a guide on free range egg labelling at the commencement of the Treasury consultation process on whether a guide should be developed at all.

NSW Farmers President Derek Schoen said: “The ACCC has been keen to put forward a common sense view on this issue but it’s hard to see the common sense in starting at the finish line.

“The Treasury consultation process is barely underway and the ACCC appears to have already made up its mind on the issue.

“NSW Farmers fully supports the ACCC’s important role in enforcing misleading product claims but when this complex issue is viewed in black and white, the result is unintended supply chain regulation out of step with consumer expectations.

“Industry welcomes clarity on ‘free range’ labelling to ensure we can enhance consumer confidence but the process must first recognise that the vast majority of free range production already meets consumer expectations.

“On the current ACCC definition, producers supplying the vast majority of free range eggs sold in Australia would need to reinvest in new production facilities or be at risk of enforcement action.

“The fact is this issue has never been properly tested with consumer expectations.

“The consultation process on a national standard for ‘free range’ labelling provides an opportunity for rational and considered public consultation. This process should assess the full spectrum of issues including whether the current common law definition set by one judge with reference to a single case is an accurate reflection of broader consumer expectations.

“NSW Farmers looks forward to engaging with Treasury on the development of the standard to ensure that the perspective of the industry as a whole is not lost in the process,” Mr Schoen concluded.


7 October 2015

Contact: John Dunn

Phone: 02 9478 1035

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