Duckbusters: ACCC Cracking Down On Free Range Claims

Duckbusters: ACCC Cracking Down On Free Range Claims

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.



  • About time, this whole bs free range crap in Australia is really grinding my gears.

    I have no problem paying more for actual free range food, but I hate it when they try and bullshit people.

  • Some people tend to think that just because the animal doesnt live in a cage, its technically free-range. But keeping them in giant sheds with 30,000 other animals of the same type isnt really ‘free’ range. I think by law a chicken is considered free range if they live in a space that allows room for 1 chicken per A4 sheet of paper….. WTF Law?

    • Can’t speak for egg laying hens, but having worked on a meat chicken farm – standard farm practice is barn raised with approx 1-2 square feet per bird; which isn’t considered to be “free range”. That said, the flock is thinned from about 6 weeks of age until the last of the birds are taken for slaughter about 12 weeks – so the amount of space available for the birds varies throughout their lives.

      • Was just about to say this. They can legally have something like 2000 chickens per something like 800sq metres if it’s that large.. It’s quite disturbing what is allowed.

        • Just found this on a RSPCA site
          “While labelling [Free range/Cage eggs ] of cartons is voluntary in some states, it is mandatory in the ACT and Tasmania ”
          So in most states its optional to state how your eggs are produced?

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