Egg labelling factsheet (ACL)

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Egg Labelling factsheet

The Commonwealth Government has introduced an Information Standard under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) for all egg producers that prescribes their obligations when promoting or selling free range eggs. The new Information Standard applies from 26 April 2018. The new standard will also inform consumers and the public more generally about free range egg claims which will enable the public to have confidence and make informed choices when buying free range eggs.

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.

This fact sheet has been produced to clarify the requirements for making free range egg claims in the marketplace and to provide further certainty for consumers when they make purchasing decisions.

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.

The requirements for the labelling of eggs produced as free range are:

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

The requirements for the display of eggs produced as free range if they are not packaged are:

  • 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;
  • Use words that mean the same thing as free range on packaging or in any advertising;
  • Use any pictures of hens ranging freely including in a grassy field.

A producer may be in breach of the information standard if images of free ranging chickens are used inconsistently in the promotion of the product but the labelling indicates a higher stocking density than the standard requires for free range chickens.

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.

Consumer Protection
Fact sheet
Last updated 04 May 2018

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