The task of buying free-range eggs has become even more complicated. Queensland has changed the rules for what can be described as 'free range', increasing the number of chickens allowed per hectare on a free-range farm by a factor of more than six.
Eggs picture from Shutterstock
Queensland now allows farms with up to 10,000 birds per hectare to describe their produce as 'free range', up from a previous limit of 1500. As Australian Food News reports, that is upsetting producers in other states. Similar proposals have been made by Coles in the past.
Companies that misuse the free range label often find themselves scrutinised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Checking those claims becomes more difficult when different rules apply in different states.
The lesson? While it would be nice to be able to rely on labels such as 'free range' or 'organic', they're not spectacularly informative. If those issues matter to you, you need specific information on the provenance of those goods. Especially if you live in Queensland.
We shouldn't delude ourselves that this is a massive consumer concern. Eggs are one of the top-selling store brand items, and those cheap eggs come entirely from caged birds.