Affordable protein flies the coup

NSW Egg Farmers are disappointed by announcement Woolworths made today to phase out all caged whole eggs sold in-store by 2018.

The association's Egg Committee Chair Bede Burke said "the announcement comes with no industry consultation or recognition of the work farmers have already undertaken to improve farm facilities to accommodate the current the Model Code of Practice for Poultry’s 2008 deadline”.

The Australian egg industry has invested $500m on the new welfare friendly cages since 2008.

“It is all every well for food ambassador Jamie Oliver to want to be saving food but this paltry decision is hardly going to make savings for the family budget. The timeframe is impractical and may just force Australian farmers out of the industry, driving prices up further”, Mr Burke said.

Eggs are the most affordable protein, this announcement will deny choice to the 50% of people who consume eggs.

“It is concerning that Mr Oliver’s initiative will put eggs out of reach of many household budgets”, Mr Burke said.

“It is also incorrect to assume that one production system is better than another”, he said.  Research by Dr Jeff Downing Sydney University found that hen stress levels have been found to be similar across cage, barn and free range environments. “Cage eggs are always fresher too”, Mr Burke said.

“Today’s announcement by Woolworths is extreme compared to the Coles decision. The 55% of consumers who currently purchase eggs, where will they go?” Mr Burke said.

“This is a sudden decision and NSW Farmers will be working with farmers to help them meet the retailers demands”, Mr Burke said.

Contact: Jennifer Brown

Phone: 1300 794 000

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