Last week, egg producer Snowdale Holdings was penalised A$1 million for falsely labelling their eggs as free-range. Snowdale, one of the biggest producers in the Australian market, owns brands including Eggs by Ellah, Swan Valley Free Range, and Wanneroo Free Range.
Given the significantly higher prices generally charged for free-range eggs, you could be forgiven for having doubts over what you’re getting in the supermarket. Even when egg cartons are legally accurate, the government definition of “free range” might not mean what you think it does.
But you don’t need to shop blind: there are a range of resources that can help you find egg producers that follow best-practise standards, avoid farming practices that concern you and understand what government guidelines really mean.
What’s in an egg label?
Previous research has shown that people buy free-range eggs for a range of reasons, including taste and quality, as well as concern for animal welfare.
But unlike other labels such as nutritional information panels or best-before dates, the “free-range” claim is not regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). In fact, no claims about production methods are subject to this kind of regulation. Food labelling regulation by FSANZ is about what a food contains, rather than how it is produced.