Tasmania halts plans on free-range labelling initiative

Tasmania’s plan to be at the forefront of transparent free-range egg labelling has been put on hold as the national debate over the definition of ‘free range’ heats up.

The state’s Consumer Affairs Minister, Nick McKim announced a plan in July last year that would make retailers provide prominent signs detailing the different forms of egg production systems.

Concerns from industry however, forced the new legislation to be placed on hold as producers feared that the new initiative could harm their operations The Mercury reports.

Jennifer Lee, acting Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading director said that further consideration regarding the impact on egg producers was required before enacting the legislation.

"Egg labelling has also been on the agenda for the last few meetings of consumer affairs ministers from across Australia and we wanted to see where these discussions went before doing any other work locally," she said.

"A number of jurisdictions (Queensland, NSW and SA as well as the ACT, which already has laws in place) are now progressing local regulatory initiatives regarding egg labelling and, as such, we are now revising our local proposal for stakeholder feedback."

"The minister would like to see this legislation introduced to the Parliament before the end of 2013."

Lee’s comments come at a sensitive time for the industry as the Queensland Government recently announced that they will increase free range densities from 1,500 birds to 10,000 birds per hectare.

Animal protection society, the Human Society International (HSI) were outraged at the Queensland government’s decision, and called upon the public to boycott the industry.


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