Producers have egg on faces
FINE FOR MISLEADING CONSUMERS
ONE of Western Australia’s biggest egg producers, which owns two Swan Valley egg labels, has been fined $750,000 for falsely labelling some its products as free range.
Snowdale Holdings was given the fine in the Federal Court last week after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission brought action against the company’s farms in the Swan Valley, which produce Swan Valley Free Range Eggs and Eggs by Ellah.
The company also paid $300,000 in court costs and was ordered to undergo a compliance program.
The Federal Court found the company guilty last year after evidence was given that half of the chickens never got to go outside because of overcrowding, despite advertising that they did.
In his May 2016 judgment, Justice Antony Siopis said Snowdale’s carton labels gave no indication the hens had to compete with up to 17,000 others before they could even exit the steel sheds.
The company declined to comment on the matter.
An RSPCA Australia spokeswoman said the matter reflected the fact that consumers were consistently looking for higher welfare food.
“It is very important that consumers have access to accurate labelling and product information, in order to make well-informed decisions,” she said.
“We’re happy to see the courts take misleading and deceptive conduct very seriously.
“That being said, as it stands, even good free range doesn’t necessarily mean good welfare.
“That’s why we encourage consumers to look for independent accreditation they can trust, such as the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, which has regular auditing and standards.”