Even More Caution Needed When Buying Free Range Eggs

Even More Caution Needed When Buying Free Range Eggs

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.

South Australian Government ‘disappointed’ by changes to Queensland ‘free range’ egg standard [Australian Food News]


    • Hey thats not so bad at least theres room for the person to walk in between without thier foot stepping on 6 chickens at once

  • I am willing to pay more for eggs that are from humanely raised chickens, because I think that cage eggs are unethical. When the definition of free-range is warped like this (or applied to the letter but not the spirit of the regulations) it makes it really hard to make informed choices, and that makes me sad 🙁

  • What I dislike about this is that it allows producers to charge premium prices (free range eggs cost more – because the costs are higher to produce) for non-premium product. It’s ripping off the consumer who is willing to pay more for ethically produced eggs and ripping off the producers who are doing the right thing – by having them compete against those who are not.

  • There are 10,000 square metres in a hectare right? So one square metre per bird… Could be worse I guess!

  • Wow. That’s actually appalling. Wonder if they’re going to make changes to certified organic as well from 1,000 per hectare to something similar to free range.

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