Egg farms raided on suspicion of misleading consumers
Food inspectors on government orders have raided large egg producers'
premises to investigate claims of a free-range egg substitution racket in
The unannounced inspections began late last week, according to the NSW Food Authority, after recent media reports that up to 20
percent of eggs labelled free range could be laid by cage hens.
The Australian Egg Corporation has rejected the claims, but says
it supports the strong action taken by the
government, headed up by NSW Minister for Primary Industries,
Meanwhile, free-range farmers are claiming they were excluded from a crisis
meeting convened by the food authority on Monday to discuss the issue.
The meeting was attended by the Australian Egg Corporation and
representatives of the state's largest producer of cage eggs, Pace Farm.
The president of the NSW Free Range Egg Association, Ian Littleton, said he
was extremely surprised to learn of the meeting through a third party.
"We were not informed and we were not invited," said Mr Littleton, producer
of Clarendon eggs, which owns 10,000 free-range hens.
Ivy Inwood, chairwoman of the Australian Free Range Egg and Poultry
Association, said the association was informed by a cage grower "about an hour
before the meeting".
A statement from Mr Macdonald's office later insisted that all sectors of the
NSW egg industry were represented at the meeting, including free range farmers,
and any claim that the meeting was not representative was false.
See the original
news item on the egg substitution issue and the news
update with info about the government's plan to launch an investigation.
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.