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Free range egg labelling rules

A new national standard governing free-range egg production in place from 26 April 2018 will help consumers to easily compare different brands of eggs labelled as ‘free range’ and ensure shoppers are getting what they pay for.

Falling under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) the Information Standard also requires producers to prominently disclose the outdoor stocking density of hens laying free range eggs on their packaging.

How consumer laws apply

The ACL places an obligation on traders not to mislead consumers in promoting their goods and services therefore any claims that eggs are ‘free range’ means they must come from hens that a reasonable consumer would consider are produced in a free range environment.

What is required when using the term ‘free range’?

The Information Standard prescribes the following requirements to apply in the production of eggs if the term ‘free range’ is applied to the labelling or promotion of those eggs.

  • Eggs are laid by hens that had meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range during daylight hours across the laying cycle.
  • Hens were subject to stocking density of 10,000 hens or less per hectare.

Labelling requirements

  • The stocking density must be prominently displayed on the packaging.

Display requirements:

  • The display sign must use the term ‘free range’ prominently.
  • The stocking density must be prominently displayed on the signage.

When are free range egg claims made?

A free range claim is made under the new standard if producers:

  • Use the words ‘free range’ on packaging or in any advertising or promotion.

A producer is in breach of the information standard if the requirements for using the term ‘free range’ is not complied with. It is clearly misleading to claim eggs are free range when the hens that laid the eggs have never left the shed or are significantly restricted from doing so.

Who can I contact for more information?

More information on the Standard can be found on the ACL website.

Last updated
26 April 2018
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