The Commonwealth Treasury has released an Exposure Draft Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling) Information Standard 2017 and an Explanatory Statement for public consultation.
Closing date for submissions is 9 December 2016. Visit the Consultations and Submissions page on the Australian Treasury website.
On 31 March 2016, State and Territory Consumer Affairs Ministers together with the Commonwealth, agreed to adopt a national information standard for free range egg labelling. The information standard will provide consumers with certainty and confidence around free range eggs and producers will have certainty about the standard they should meet to avoid misleading consumers in relation to a free range claim.
Free range eggs must come from hens that had meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range with a maximum outdoor stocking density of no more than 10,000 hens per hectare. The stocking density must be prominently disclosed on the egg label.
Egg labelling is an area of uncertainty for consumers and egg producers. Currently, there is no national binding definition for free range eggs in Australia.
Fair Trading supports a nationally consistent and transparent approach to egg labelling and has advocated for a national information standard to offer a binding definition for free range eggs. The standard will be legally enforceable under the Australian Consumer Law and businesses will need to ensure their free range egg labels comply with the standard once it is implemented.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, a national information standard is designed to ensure consumers can make informed decisions about what they are purchasing. Similar standards in place include ingredient labelling on cosmetics and toiletries and care labels for clothing and textiles. Recently, Ministers also endorsed an information standard for country of origin labelling. Under the Australian Consumer Law, the maximum penalties for supplying goods and services that do not comply with information standards are $1.1 million for a body corporate and $220,000 for an individual.
Register your interest in receiving updates on the development of the egg labelling national standard with our registration form on the Fair Trading website.
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