We all thought that was tough question but anyone who has stood in front of the “egg section” at the local supermarket knows how confusing the purchase of a dozen eggs can be!
We have Organic eggs, Free Range eggs (which, as a matter of interest, accounts for 20% of the egg market), Barn laid eggs, Cage Laid eggs, Cage Free eggs, Large Eggs for Soldiers, 600g or 700g or 800g, L or XL or jumbo, 6 pack or 12 pack or 18 pack – in fact a quick search on Coles Online came up with 36 matches of different egg offerings.
But if we’re confused, spare a thought for the egg producers as they attempt to wade through the legislation and national guidelines introduced by the federal government and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Last month Queensland-based Darling Downs Fresh Eggs was hit with a $250,000 fine by the Federal Court after the ACCC alleged the business’s laying hens had been confined to barns, regardless of Darling Downs Fresh Eggs defence that they were trying to keep their chickens indoors during an avian influenza outbreak.
As a consumer we expect, for example, Free Range Eggs to be laid by chickens as they wander around freely, on a grassy field. We also expect that to be able to rely on the labelling that appears on produce. And, generally producers take this very seriously but are still being frustrated by a lack of clarity and certainty from the government.
And as a nation which consumes around four billion eggs annually, this is something that all parties need to address and get right!