Consumers are entitled to trust free range claims by egg producers are truthful.
Australian Consumer Law requires that any statement or representation made when advertising or selling eggs must not be misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive. This includes claims that eggs are laid by free range hens.
The page includes information on:
- what makes a egg free range?
- free range egg claims
- labelling standards
- what to do if you have a problem
What makes an egg free range?
Free range eggs must come from hens:
- that had meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range during daylight hours of the laying cycle
- were able to roam and forage on the outdoor range, and
- were subject to a stocking density of 10,000 hens or less per hectare.
Free range claims
Free range claims include:
- using the words ‘free range’ on packaging or in advertising material
- using words that mean the same thing as free range on packaging or advertising material
- using pictures of hens ranging freely including in a grassy field.
If a free range claim is made, businesses must prominently state the hen stocking density on the egg packaging, or, for unpackaged eggs, display a sign which prominently states the stocking density.
Free range egg labelling information standard
A national information standard for free range egg labelling was adopted by all Australian states and territories, together with the Commonwealth in 2017.
The Free Range Egg Labelling Information Standard provides consumers with certainty and confidence around free range eggs claims. It also helps producers understand the requirements they should meet to avoid misleading consumers.
National information standards ensure consumers can make informed decisions about their purchases. Similar information standards in place include ingredient labelling on cosmetics and toiletries, and care labels for clothing and textiles.
Under Australian Consumer Law, the maximum penalties for supplying goods and services that do not comply with information standards are $1.1 million for a body corporate and $220,000 for an individual.
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Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?
The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- NSW Fair Trading, and
- other State and Territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.