Egg Farmers of Australia support cage, barn and free range egg production systems and believe that consumers should have the right to choose the eggs they wish to consume.

Egg Farmers of Australia believe that the consumer should drive demand of the eggs that they wish to eat and egg farmers will supply accordingly.

 Egg Farmers of Australia engage with supermarkets annually through either meetings or correspondence.

 Egg Farmers of Australia’s export brief outlining export for the previous year is updated annually in August.


The future of cage egg production in Australia continues to remain in limbo with farmers no closer to knowing if they have a future in the industry.

On the 13 July 2023, Federal and State Agriculture Ministers met at the Agriculture Ministers Meeting (AMM) and decided that the Standards and Guidelines would be implemented by State jurisdictions.

Although states have responsibility for animal welfare, the purpose of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry was that they be harmonised. The AMM not resolving harmonisation is a policy fail.

After waiting 11 years for the process to be completed nationally, now it has simply been a handball exercise to states with no driving of the issue at a Federal level. This means a hen in Queensland will be treated differently to one in New South Wales if legislation is passed at different times.

We could end up with one state not able to produce cage eggs but that eggs from another state from the cage production system can be sold.

The draft S&G document had set a deadline of 2036 for an end to conventional cages – 10 years earlier than the egg industry had requested to 2046.

Any premature phase-out could spark future egg shortages and higher prices for consumers, already struggling with the cost of living. There is still demand for cage eggs that have the lowest carbon footprint of all systems. Consumers should have a choice in the eggs they wish to purchase.

State egg farming bodies will now work with their relevant state agriculture minister on the issue.

The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) is an agreement between industry groups to apportion disease response costs subsequent to disease outbreaks. Immediate responses are underwritten by the Federal Government, then paid back to the Federal Government through funds from industry levies subject to industry outbreak (egg, chicken meat, duck etc).  Animal Health Australia apportions the costs based on industry gross production value.

In addition to the EADRA Deed, a poultry deed, represents agreement between the signatories regarding each respective industry’s policy for fair and reasonable compensation repayment terms.

Three industries are currently signatories of the EADRA Deed, and work closely together to ensure quick response to emergency disease situations – Egg, Chicken Meat, and Duck who joined in 2021.

As a result of the wide impact of recent outbreaks of Avian Influenza, the Egg, Chicken Meat and Duck parties, are in discussions to encourage all other commercial bird industries (such as the Turkey and Emu industries) to join in and become signatories to the EADRA and Poultry Deeds.

Egg Farmers of Australia released their 5 year strategic plan in January of 2022.  The plan focuses on biosecurity, food safety, the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry and the communication and engagement with members and stakeholders.

Stakeholder Engagement

Egg Farmers of Australia is supported by members for members. Members of our organisation receive quarterly newsletters, e-updates on important topics, and staff touch base with members by phone and email.  Egg Farmers of Australia work hard to provide value for money to our members and appreciate those members who pay levies in order to ensure a national body for egg farmers exists.

Members are provided with this quick reference guide outlining a range of useful information, contacts and policy positions of Egg Farmers of Australia. Provided annually from 2021, policy positions are updated prior to the commencement of each financial year and the guide is provided to new members or continuing members on renewal of their membership each July.

Egg Farmers of Australia engage with Federal and State Government Ministers, Policy Advisers, and government agencies regularly to progress issues such as the Standards and Guidelines, to progress industry policy and to receive updates from the government on disease outbreaks or policy work undertaken.

Egg Farmers of Australia are committed to providing a briefing to Advisers and Departmental staff once per year after receiving a copy of the latest Good Egg Guide (a handbook created for government officials assisting the egg industry).

Egg Farmers of Australia provide submissions to the government and consider joint submissions with state farming organisations where appropriate.

Egg Farmers of Australia engage with other industry organisations including, but not limited to, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation and Australian Duck Meat Association as required.

Current Egg Industry issues

Traceability is an important aspect of egg farming for farmers, retailers and consumers.

Egg Farmers of Australia believe that eggs for consumption should be stamped.

Egg Farmers have raised the issue with the three state governments (NSW, VIC and TAS) that permit egg exemptions where stamps are not required to be stamped.

In NSW if a farmer has less than 240 eggs per week (less than 50 layers and only sell directly from farm gate or use for fundraising purposes where the eggs will be cooked) the farmer is exempt from stamping.

In Victoria, again less than 50 layers and 240 eggs per week, an exemption.

Tasmanian farmers with less than 20 dozen a week and only supplying to work colleagues, friends and family an exemption is permitted.

Following the soon to be announced FSANZ Review, Egg Farmers of Australia will be requesting that a recommendation be made that state exemptions not be permitted and that all eggs be stamped.

Many industries have had traceability systems in place for many years. Egg Farmer of Australia support the Australian Eggs traceability tools to ensure that all egg farmers have accessibility to a system.

Traceability allows farmers to assess the source of any problems and take steps to prevent the spread of disease and may help in the event of a product recall.

For updates on the increased traceability tools, please visit https://www.australianeggs.org.au/for-farmers/traceability

Egg Farmers of Australia undertake a range of egg industry biosecurity coordination activities with  Animal Health Australia on behalf of Australian Eggs.

 In 2019, the industry experienced the largest outbreak of Avian Influenza in Australia’s history.

Egg Farmers of Australia in conjunction with Australian Eggs developed an AI checklist for farms.


In the event of an Avian Influenza Disease Response, Egg Farmers of Australia are committed to liaising with Australian Eggs in order to ensure that industry support can be made available to the control centre.

Communication with Livestock Liaison Industry (LLI) Officers is provided through emails twice yearly.

Egg Farmers of Australia have developed an AI communication plan and continue to work with organisations such as the Federal Government and ACCC to discuss progress that can be made to assist in an incident.

Currently a longer housing order is being considered due to the risk that multiple incidences and locations could be impacted by AI due to the increased cases on a global level.

Traceability to enable biosecurity measures pertaining to the on-selling of end of lay (spent hens) is paramount to reducing the risk of disease in the movement of hens. For this reason, Egg Farmers of Australia acknowledges that some egg farmers on-sell end of lay (spent hens) and in doing so are encouraged to adhere to the recommendations of The National Farm Biosecurity Technical Manual for Egg Production, specifically, clause 4.4.2 states that “A record of bird movements must be maintained to facilitate tracing in case of an animal health or food safety concern.”

Traceable records of the sale, including date, address, and contacts of the person to whom they were sold are crucial so that if there is a food safety, animal health or other related incident, the movements of the birds can be rapidly traced, and the situation resolved as quickly as possible.


The National Farm Biosecurity Technical Manual for Egg Production manual can be found online at: https://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/National-Farm-Biosecurity-Technical-Manual-for-Egg-Production1.pdf

Egg Farmers of Australia understand that the number of backyard producers are increasing.  For this reason, a backyard flyer has been developed with the aim of joint promotion with governments to provide further information in relation to the importance of backyard producers understanding their responsibilities as hen owners.

The risk around the movement of hens is minimised through the biosecurity measures practiced by egg farmers to safeguard their farm against disease when hens are moved on and off farm. 

Traceability of the movement of hens is recommended through record keeping as outlined in The National Farm Biosecurity Technical Manual for Egg Production. 

Egg farmers provide care to hens and ensure that birds are transported in suitable vehicles that have consideration to climatic conditions such as providing ventilation and shade.  

Governance and Planning

Egg Farmers of Australia commence all board meetings with noting the importance of compliance obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Egg Farmers of Australia Board of Directors adhere to the following protocols relating to commercially sensitive information and competition:

  • no discussion of pricing;
  • no discussion of dealings with customers, suppliers or other stakeholders;
  • no cost sharing information; and
  • no discussion surrounding restricting or limiting supply.

 Egg Farmers of Australia Board of Directors and Staff must provide a Declaration of Interests before each AGM meeting. Should a significant change in interests occur through the year, an amendment to the Declaration of Interests is required to be made.

Egg Farmers of Australia’s constitution is available to members for viewing on the members only site.

Egg Farmers of Australia Directors and Nominees are to be ratified at the first meeting of the Board following the AGM.


Egg Farmers of Australia liaised with government on the definition of free range farming. Legislation came into effect in early 2018. Under the law, eggs labelled as ‘free range’ must come from hens that are able to roam and forage outdoors for at least eight hours each day.

The maximum outdoor stocking density for free range egg farming is 10,000 hens per hectare of land or one hen per square metre. Each egg farm must state its outdoor stocking density on egg cartons.

Egg Farmers of Australia developed and launched an animal welfare policy statement in relation to: farming practices, animal welfare science, community consultation and education, animal protection legislation, enforcement and compliance, and consumer choice.

98% of all farms are family owned and operated


A reasonable opportunity for poultry to be able to drink the water of suitable quality and quantity to maintain their hydration.

The state of an animal and how well it is coping with the conditions in which it lives.

Standards once endorsed and legislated by all State & Territory governments are the legal requirements for livestock welfare and use the word ‘must’. The standards provide the basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia.

The main decision-making principles used for developing the standards are to ensure the standards are:

  • desirable for livestock welfare
  • feasible for industry and government to implement
  • important for the livestock-welfare regulatory framework

achieve the intended outcome for livestock welfare.

A building for layer hens without conventional cages, similar to a barn but providing two or more floor levels, giving free access for all birds to all floors.

A housing system in which birds are continuously housed in a shed.

Beak treatment Treatment of the beak to stop cannibalism.


Loss of blood caused by cutting the major blood vessels, usually in the neck or at the base of the heart via the thoracic inlet.

Birds Chicks, chickens, pullets or layer hens.


A housing system in which birds are continuously housed in cages within a shed.


The practice by some birds of pecking and eating other members of the same flock.

Poultry under 72 hours old, commonly known as day-old chicks, poults etc.

Abrasive device or flooring for scratching.

Colony Cage/ Furnished Cage A modified and enlarged cage environment with more space than conventional cages and with perching, nesting and dust bathing areas. A colony is sometimes also referred to as a furnished or enriched cage, or furnished or enriched colony.


A business that engages in the breeding, sale or slaughter of poultry. Commercial production does not include poultry kept for personal use, such as backyard chickens or exhibition poultry.

A housing system where the operator can control temperature, air quality and light.


A metal enclosure containing two to nine birds.  These cages do not include a perch, a nest box or a dust bathing area.

The period between the point of lay and the cessation of egg laying. This may be seasonal.

Materials and structures provided to meet the behavioural needs of poultry, which can help to minimise the development of abnormal behaviours.


Is equipment that can be used to detect and prevent the spread of fire including water sprinklers/misters, smoke alarms, hoses and portable fire extinguishers.

A number of birds of the same origin (genotype) age and managed in the same way.


A housing system in which birds are continuously housed in a shed and have access to the outdoors.

A female after the first moult. It is often used to describe females after they have started to lay.

The machine used to incubate and artificially hatch fertile eggs.

A female in lay. Usually used to refer to females kept solely for egg production for human consumption.

Laying chickens (Gallus gallus) reared, kept and managed for egg production, but do not include birds being reared and managed for purposes of breeding laying chickens.

The model code of practice is a guide for people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of domestic poultry.  It recognises that the basic requirement for welfare of poultry is a husbandry system appropriate to their physiological and behavioural needs.  Farmers work to this code of practice while awaiting the endorsement of the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry.

Provides poultry with adequate space, separation from cohorts and the opportunity for laying in a darkened, secluded area.

Housing systems in which birds are not continuously confined in a cage and may include access to an outdoor area.

Perch An elevated structure for birds to roost off the ground.

When a sexually mature hen starts laying.

An opening that provides birds with access between indoor and outside areas.

A young hen, especially one less than one year old.

An outdoor area, used by birds in free-range farming.

Management of poultry from day-old to sexual maturity or production age.

A surface area that allows foraging behaviour.

Space that has sufficient height to allow a bird to move freely, and perform normal postures, and does not include nest areas and structures such as raised perches and feed troughs.

A person (the supervised person) is acting under the supervision of another person (the supervisor) if the supervisor:
(a) provides instructions and guidance to the supervised person in relation to the subject activity; and
(b) oversees and evaluates the performance of the activity by the supervised person; and
(c) is contactable by the supervised person.

A system of raised flooring with gaps that allow bird faeces to pass through.

The common external opening from the cloaca for the digestive system, urinary system and reproductive system.

A roofed area along the outside of a dwelling eg. shed, level with the ground floor, designed to give shade/shelter.


Free Range Finally Unscrambled

April 26, 2017

Farmers of Australia (EFA) has welcomed the finalisation of the Free-Range Labelling Information Standard.

“The new standard will bring simplicity and clarity to the term free range and it will ensure that when consumers choose to buy free range they will know exactly what they are getting,” said John Dunn, CEO, Egg Farmers of Australia.

“Under the new standard, every farmer must give their hens meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range. Any hen who wants to go outdoors will be able to do so, if she chooses to.

“People will also be able to see on egg cartons how many hens per hectare there are on the farm. Displaying stock density information on egg cartons gives the choice to consumers.

“This is a win for consumers and a win for farmers.

“Consumers will now have confidence that when they buy free-range that’s what they’re getting. They’ll also have more choice with stocking density to be displayed on carton.

“After years of uncertainty, farmers will have the confidence to invest in new free range farming facilities and technologies, such as new environmental controls in sheds to keep hens cool during summer and enrichments to range areas.

“EFA thanks all state consumer affairs ministers for their work and deliberation in agreeing to this standard. We acknowledge in particular, the Federal Government for their leadership in tackling this issue.

“EFA supports consumers in their right to choose which type of eggs they want to buy – whether that be from free range, barn or caged hens.

“We look forward to the new labelling standards being implemented.”

Media Contact: John Dunn

Caged Egg Farming: get the facts

April 13, 2017

The Federal RSPCA has dusted off its campaign against caged egg production, initiating an online petition urging RSPCA subscribers to send a pre-written email to six egg farms across Australia.

Notably, the six egg farms identified farm caged, barn and free range eggs, demonstrating their ongoing responsiveness to consumer demand for different production profiles.

No doubt this latest online campaign will produce many standard emails and before you get drawn into that, you might like to consider the following facts.

Around 26% of shoppers only ever buy caged eggs and 71% purchase caged, barn and free range eggs.

29% of shoppers only ever buy non-caged and free range.

Eggs farmers produce eggs in response to consumer demand. Caged eggs make up more than 50% of production because that’s that product that consumers continue to choose.

Each egg production system has unique advantages in terms of egg quality and animal welfare outcomes. Caged production has many unique advantages that alternate systems can’t achieve.

EFA supports consumers in their right to choose which type of eggs they want to buy – whether that be from free range, barn or caged hens.

If you want to get the facts about caged egg farming, you can check out the attached fact sheet.

Media Contact: John Dunn

Notice of objection period to deactivate EADR Levy

February 24, 2017

Dear Egg Farmer

Notice of objection period to deactivate EADR Levy

Recently AECL wrote to all known levy payers informing them of the intention to commence the process to reduce the EADR levy to zero.

Due to outbreaks of Avian Influenza (AI) in 2012, one in ducks in Victoria and two among laying hens in NSW, the Emergency Animal Disease Response (EADR) levy was increased in 2014 from zero to 1.4 cents per chick purchased. The industry liability of approximately $390,503 has now been repaid in full, negating the need for the levy.

As the process to change the levy takes a considerable time, AECL proposes that any levy collected in surplus of the EADR industry liability will be held in trust by Animal Health Australia for use if the Australian egg industry should incur another EADR liability in future.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources has agreed to the commencement of a 30 day objection period to the resetting of the levy. The period will commence on 22 February 2017 and finish on 21 March 2017.

If you wish to record an objection please do so by emailing contacts@aecl.org and also to the Department of Agriculture in Canberra levies.management@agriculture.gov.au.

For further information regarding the proposal to assist you in determining whether you wish to object or not, please do not hesitate to contact me on 02 94096904 or sue@aecl.org.

Egg Farmers Correct the Record on Free Range Egg Labelling

January 4, 2017

The New Year has started with renewed interest in the upcoming information standard for free range eggs with media reports flagging concerns by interest groups that the new standard will lead to ongoing confusion for consumers. Egg Farmers of Australia (EFA) is urging consumers not to be misled by the wing-flapping of interest groups.

“In March last year Consumer Affairs Ministers from across Australia came together to agree on a national definition for free range eggs. Many different options were considered on what farming system should constitute free range under a national information standard,” said John Dunn, CEO, Egg Farmers of Australia.

“Many argued that free range egg farming should be confined to farms with an external stocking density of 1,500 hens per hectare.

“After an exhaustive examination of the evidence and a lengthy process of public consultation by Treasury, it was decided that this argument could not be substantiated.

“However, that perspective was considered and addressed. Farmers will now be required to display their stocking density on pack. So, when you buy an egg you will be able to choose between stocking densities if that is important to you.

“The requirement for stocking density to be displayed on pack is consistent with labelling changes championed by consumer group CHOICE in a June 2015 report. It’s difficult to understand why they keep moving the goal posts and adding unnecessary conjecture to this process.

“For anyone interested in better understanding how food labelling works, the NSW Food Authority has launched a Food Labelling Hub which provides consumers with unbiased information about a range of products. Accurate information about free range eggs can be found there.”

EFA is a national peak body representing the interests of egg farmers in each state of Australia which represents 80% of egg production. For anyone who has an interest in understanding egg farming, please contact John Dunn.

Media Contact: John Dunn

NSW Food Labelling Hub: http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/food-labelling

AECL Puts Catalyst Straight

April 20, 2016

Yesterday the Australian Egg Corporation released the following statement regarding the ABC’s Catalyst program, who had allowed one of their guests to casually present misinformation regarding Farming Practices with Chickens. Egg Farmers Australia agrees wholeheartedly with AECL’s statement which you can read below:

“The AECL The Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL) would like to set the record straight on the issue of antibiotics and the egg industry, following some provocative comments on the ABC’s ‘Catalyst’ program last night.

In the story, Professor Lindsay Grayson of Austin Health was quoted as saying:
Intensive farming practices, in many ways, have only been possible because of the increased and really inappropriate use of antibiotics. Where you’ve got millions of chickens on a one-acre lot, stacked one above the other, the top lot defecating on those below them, I mean, the spread of organisms is massive.

AECL Managing Director, James Kellaway, said Professor Grayson had painted a picture that was not an accurate reflection of egg farming and the use of antibiotics in the Australian egg industry.

“There is no egg farm in Australia that would have anything near one million let alone several million chickens on a one-acre lot. I am also unaware of any egg farm where the ‘top lot’ defecate ‘on those below them’,” Mr Kellaway said.

“The use of therapeutic antibiotics in the egg industry is very limited and only under the direction of a veterinarian responsible for the health and the welfare of hens and under the strict mandated requirements of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority,” Mr Kellaway said.

Mr Kellaway noted that the movement of more hens into extensive farming systems (free range) compared to more intensive system (cage) had increased the challenges in controlling bacterial disease associated with the faecal-oral cycle and both internal and external parasites.

“Free range poultry do offer the challenges of the re-emergence of historical diseases and challenges with emergency animal diseases like Avian Influenza. These challenges are being accommodated with enhanced and improved husbandry, biosecurity policies and the use of effective and strategic vaccination programs,” he said.

AECL supports the comments in the story made by University of South Australia Microbiologist, Emeritus Professor Mary Barton, that stated:
I mean, despite all the mythology about the tons of antibiotics being fed to chickens, it’s a total myth, and, in fact, there are a very restricted range of antibiotics that can be fed, for example, to, well, all chickens, but egg layers in particular.

“The range of antibiotics used in commercial eggs layers in Australia is heavily restricted compared to many other countries throughout the world,” he said.

The whole transcript of the Catalyst story can be viewed here: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4446258.htm

You can find AECL’s original statement here: https://www.aecl.org/media/media-releases/news/the-real-story-about-antibiotics-and-laying-hens/

Media Contact: John Coward

A win for Consumers as free range code finally cracked

April 18, 2016

Egg Farmers Australia has welcomed the decision by Consumer Affairs Ministers on a national information standard for free range eggs.

“This is a commonsense resolution to what has been an unnecessarily complicated issue.” John Coward, Spokesperson for Egg Farmers Australia said.
“For any consumers who have been confused about what they are buying this information standard should end that confusion. Free range hens are free. They are free from cages, free to move about inside the barn and importantly they are free to go outside if and when they choose to.

“The decision by Ministers to define free range hens as having meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range where they are free to roam and forage brings commonsense to an emotional debate. Choice for hens is the winner on the basis of this definition.

“Consumers too have secured a win. With the new requirement for stocking density to be mandated on pack, shoppers will be empowered through choice.
“Most importantly for industry this provides certainty. The debate on free range has delayed investment in new farms and has placed a hand-break on innovation and productivity.

“I congratulate Federal Minister Kelly O’Dwyer and State Consumer Affairs Ministers for their deliberative and evidence-based approach to this issue. In particular I single out NSW Minister Victor Dominello for his leadership. His engagement on this issue has brought clarity and intellectual rigour to the debate and his consultative approach has ensured that the outcome gives confidence to consumers and certainty to farmers. The farming community acknowledges that without Minister Dominello, this debate would never have been resolved,” added Mr Coward.

Media Contact: John Coward

Consumers will have more clarity now a national standard for Free Range Eggs has been agreed upon

April 1, 2016

Egg Farmers Australia welcomes the clarity a decision has brought to Free Range Eggs.

State and Federal Ministers have agreed on a definition which emphasizes that hens must be given meaningful access to the range, which means hens will have the freedom to roam as they please.

For more information on the decision:

Federal Government media release
VFF media release
NSW Farmers media release
AECL media release

Australian Egg Farmers United on Free Range

October 16, 2015

Representatives of Egg Farmers Australia have reaffirmed their unity on a definition for free range in response to the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement on Free Range egg labelling (RIS).

Representatives from Egg Farmers Australia met in Sydney yesterday (Thursday) to discuss an industry response to the RIS and affirmed that they were united in their approach.

EFA spokesperson John Coward said: “Australian egg farmers are committed to getting consumers the egg they want with information they understand. We want consumers to have complete confidence in the production systems which underpin free range and the labelling that is used to describe those eggs.”

“I want every consumer to know that Egg Farmers Australia has heard the calls for clarity. And we have responded.

“Today, farmers from across Australia stand together and call for an end to the confusion on free range eggs. We are proud of the eggs we produce and we stand behind our production systems.

“Our farms do not exist without our customers ‐ earning and retaining their confidence is core business for us.

“As a result of our meeting we have agreed to ask Treasury to formally legislate in Australian Consumer Law the EFA definition of free range.

“Our definition is that laying hens have access to and are free to roam and forage on an outdoor range area during daylight hours in a managed environment.

“Getting the definition right is a critical one for our industry ‐ it’s important to strike a balance between providing surety for our farmers and transparency for our consumers,” Mr Coward concluded.

EFA members are the Victorian Farmers’ Federation Egg Group, NSW Farmers’ Association Egg Committee, Commercial Egg Producers Association of Western Australia, Tasmanian Commercial Egg Producers Association, Queensland United Egg Producers and South Australian Local Egg Section.

Media Contact: John Coward john.coward1@gmail.com

Egg Industry Welcomes Consultation Process

October 16, 2015

Egg Farmers of Australia (EFA) has welcomed the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) issued today by the Commonwealth Government.

Egg Farmers of Australia spokesman, John Coward, said the industry was keen to ensure certainty on free range eggs and egg labelling for consumers and egg farmers alike.
Egg Farmers of Australia has provided a free-range proposal to the government that calls for a prescribed external stocking density of no more than one bird per square metre, as well as good farming practices around access to outdoors and the external environment required for effective free-range egg farming.

“Recent consumer research shows this proposal meets or exceeds the expectations of nearly three quarters of Australian free-range egg buyers. So we have clear evidence the vast majority of consumers accept a free-range egg standard of one bird per square metre,” Mr Coward said.

“With regard to the RIS, we are very pleased the process has commenced and welcome a constructive approach from all parties to ensure egg farmers are able to continue supplying consumers with the affordable and nutritious eggs they love. We believe it is critical that consumers have confidence in the labeling and production system employed by farmers in
supplying the market with free-range eggs,” he said.

Egg Farmers of Australia will be considering the contents of the RIS and making a submission on the matter in the near future.

National Approach to Egg Labelling

June 12, 2015

Egg Farmers of Australia (EFA) has endorsed the national approach to egg labelling agreed to by State and Federal Ministers for Consumer Affairs this morning.

The Ministers agreed to pursue an enforceable national definition for free range eggs at a meeting in Melbourne.

EFA spokesman John Coward said a national approach would help build consumer confidence in eggs as well as clarity and certainty for egg farmers.

“We want to make sure consumers get what they are paying for. But some people in this debate are forgetting about the rights of egg farmers, who are the experts when it comes to farming. Investment in the free range sector appears to have slowed because of the lack of clarity around the definition of free range,” Mr Coward.

“However, we don’t want to rush into a new labelling system without proper consultation with egg farmers to ensure we get the details right,” he said.

Earlier this week, Egg Farmers of Australia presented Minister Dominello with a new definition of free range agreed to unanimously by the State Egg representative bodies that compromise EFA.

The new definition is: ‘Laying hens in free range farming systems are unconfined within a ventilated hen house. They have access to and are free to roam and forage on an outdoor range area during daylight hours in a managed environment.’

Mr Coward said he hoped for an outcome that would ensure existing free range egg farmers could continue farming to accepted principles.

“But I also hope organisations like Choice will be more accurate in their commentary on this important debate as their misinformation only confuses consumers.”

For media enquiries, please call (02) 9409 6909 or visit www.eggfarmersaustralia.org.

New Definition of Free Range

June 10, 2015

Egg Farmers of Australia has endorsed a new definition of free range egg production that will help build consumer confidence and provide certainty for egg farmers.

The new definition, that covers a range of points relating to the management of free range egg farms, was presented to the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello in a constructive meeting in Sydney this morning.

Egg Farmers of Australia spokesman, John Coward, said he was hopeful that Minister Dominello will take that definition to a meeting of Ministers for Consumer Affairs/Fair Trading in Melbourne on Friday. That meeting will aim to find ways to improve egg labelling in Australia.

”Egg Farmers of Australia believes it is imperative consumers get what they are paying for when it comes to egg purchasing,“ Mr Coward said.

“There has been some confusion regarding the current definition of free range in the Model Code of Practice for Domestic Poultry – 4th Edition (http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/3451.htm) but the new definition agreed to by the majority of the egg industry yesterday, after considerable consultation with all State representative bodies, will aim to improve consumer confidence and egg farmer certainty,” he said.

The new definition is: ‘Laying hens in free range farming systems are unconfined within a ventilated hen house. They have access to and are free to roam and forage on an outdoor range area during daylight hours in a managed environment.’

Mr Coward said the definition (which is pasted below)) contained a number of minimum farm management standards to be met including “outdoor stocking density must not exceed 1 hen per square metre. Where hens are stocked at higher than 1500 hens per hectare, close management must be undertaken and regular rotation of hens onto fresh outdoor range areas should occur with some continuing soil or fodder cover.”

“The egg industry is pleased the Minister will consider progressing such a constructive view of the issue to a national approach to egg labelling. We hope others involved in this debate, such as Choice, will take a constructive and responsible approach on this issue. All we have heard from Choice recently are cheap shots from the sideline that highlight their lack of accountability,” he said.

For media enquiries, please call (02) 9409 6909.