Australia’s biggest egg producer fined by ACCC
Egg producer Pirovic Enterprises has today been fined $300,000 for misleading and deceptive labelling of their products as free range. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took legal action this year against both Pirovic Enterpirses and Snowdale Holdings, two of Australia’s biggest egg producers, for misleading consumers.
The ACCC alleged that Pirovic used images and language to describe their product as free range even though stocking density in barns meant birds could not move about freely, or have access to outdoors. “These claims by Pirovic meant customers were paying more for a product that they thought represented their idea of free range,” said HSI’s Verna Simpson.
While the Snowdale case is still in court, the outcome of the case against Pirovic is a huge step for truth in labelling, and both of these cases highlight the issues and confusion consumers face in regard to the egg industry in Australia. “The crackdown on industrial producers who are deliberately misrepresentative in their use of terms such as free range, and who are clearly misleading customers, is needed to ensure consumers are safe in the future,” says Ms Simpson.
“There are many true free range producers who have been established under the 1500 hens per hectare Model Code for many years and it is in fact their hard work and pioneering efforts that have created the desire for true free range eggs. To have their market deliberately hijacked by the big boys is outrageous,“ says Ms Simpson.
The results of this case come at an integral time for the industry with recommendations that Government put in place a national legal definition for free range eggs. ACCC have done such a thorough investigation and we hope the Government draws on their in-depth knowledge of the industry. “The legislation of a national Model Code of Practice that represents true free range would be a huge success for both consumers and the small producers who are transparent about their standards and who have been fighting to ensure that free range hens remain free,” Ms Simpson concluded.