Battery eggs passed off as free range: update
The Australian government will launch an investigation into claims
that eggs laid by barn and cage hens are being labelled and sold as free-range
The possibility of an egg substitution racket was discovered when data from
the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Egg Corporation
and the Australian Free Range Egg and Poultry Association showed that the number
of free-range hens in the country could produce only about 80 percent of the
eggs that are labelled as free-range.
Fifteen percent of eggs available to consumers are labelled free-range.
Free-range egg producers have alleged for years that barn and cage eggs
produced by big operators have been packaged free-range cartons, but they admit
they have no hard evidence to back up their claims.
Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran, said that he would contact the
state agriculture ministers, as they were responsible for enforcing consumer and
"These allegations need to be investigated to protect the trust consumers
have in Australian produce," he said.
"Australian farmers have built a reputation for clean, green agriculture that
is trusted by consumers both here and overseas."
The Australian Egg Corporation has subsequently rejected the egg substitution claim.
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