Monday, October 06, 2008

Free Range Eggs are Probably Not

It seems that only about one in three of those labelled as free range eggs actually are free range. At least in Australia.

That has a bit to do with the semantics of how free range is actually defined, but evidence shows about one million free range chooks EXCEPT that the markets indicate over 2.5 million seem to be around, based on the number of free range eggs that are labelled that way. And sold at much higher prices, too.

Each day, hundreds of thousands of barn-laid eggs are passed off as free range in an egg-substitution racket that costs Australian consumers billions of dollars each year, Ivy Inwood, the president of the Free Range Egg & Poultry Association of Australia, told The Sunday Age.

Two years ago, egg substitution was estimated to have cost consumers $13 million annually but the problem has become worse as the sale of free-range-branded eggs continues to soar, she said.
The true cost of the scam might never be known because proper records are not kept, and governments have left themselves effectively powerless to police the egg-substitution issue. "The ACCC has its hands tied because there are no agreed standards, they can't do anything," Mrs Inwood said. "You can call anything free range and get away with it."

Mrs Inwood has called on all Australian governments to urgently develop a nationwide, legally binding definition of free-range eggs, including how they should be produced.

Any new laws should require that laying hens be allowed out of sheds at first light, have adequate space for foraging and that all hens should be reared as free rangers from hatchlings.

"Over half the free-range eggs are falsely labelled because they're not coming from genuine free-range farms," Mrs Inwood said. "The public is paying big bikkies for these things, so we need to get genuine free-range eggs."

And this is following the recent news that really, free range eggs are no different to caged egg production in quality. Did they actually test free range eggs?

I cannot note any differences, except the outlandish high prices for free range eggs.

So should we be throwing mud at China?

1 comment:

Bella said...

Eggs…. a great source of protein, are also an important part of my daily diet.