It's a simple rule: if you imply that your poultry is raised outdoors in a relatively happy free-range lifestyle, it doesn't look good if they turn out to live their entire short lives in indoor sheds. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking one supplier to court for describing its ducks as "open range" and "grown nature's way" while raising them entirely indoors.
Picture by James Niland
The ACCC has started proceedings against Pepe's Ducks, alleging that despite those descriptions " Pepe's Ducks sold or offered for sale were processed from ducks raised solely in indoor sheds without access to the outdoors or other conditions in which ducks naturally live". The matter will be heard in the Federal Court on August 29.
As part of its general remit against deceptive conduct, the ACCC often intercepts in "organic food" matters; the one that sticks in our head is ALDI's organic honey. As usual, the lesson is that claims that food is "organic" or "free range" deserve careful scrutiny if that's an important consideration for you.