Fix free range eggs

Support real free range egg labels

If you pay extra for free range eggs, you deserve the real deal.

But there are plenty of “free range” eggs on supermarket shelves that come from chickens kept in cramped conditions that are not guaranteed to go outside.

That could all change. Rebekha Sharkie MP from the Nick Xenophon Team is proposing to change free range egg labelling laws. Her bill would ensure that free range means that chickens go outside and have room to move.

Tell your local MP to support changes to free range egg labelling laws. 

By writing to your local MP, you can send a message that all of us want real free range egg labels.

The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Free Range Eggs) Bill 2018, if it is voted in, will introduce changes to Australia’s free range egg labelling laws. The changes would mean that eggs could only be called free range if;

  • the majority of hens are outside on most days and move about freely
  • the hens have a maximum stocking density of 1,500 hens per hectare.

Rebekha Sharkie MP from the Nick Xenophon Team is introducing this bill into the House of Representatives on the week of 12 February.

CHOICE and Rebekha Sharkie MP in Parliament House. 

It’s not easy to find ‘real’ free range eggs.

In 2017, the government introduced a free range egg standard that fails consumers. The standard allows producers to pack 10,000 hens into a hectare with no mandate for hens to actually spend time outdoors. This is entirely in contrast to consumers’ expectations for free range eggs and the CSIRO’s Model Code of Practice, which says there should be a maximum of 1500 hens per hectare on an outdoor range.

In 2015, CHOICE found that consumers are being ripped off when it comes to free-range eggs. An analysis of free-range eggs, barn laid eggs and caged eggs in 96 supermarkets across Australia found that consumers pay up to almost double the amount for free range.

Unfortunately this price premium doesn’t mean much. When we looked into a broad cross-section of eggs labelled as free range, we found a wide variation. The largest producers and sellers of eggs labelled ‘free range’ – Pace Farm, Farm Pride, Manning Valley, Woolworths and Coles – declare the highest stocking densities.

If you want to ensure that the free range eggs you buy meet your expectations:

  • Download our free range egg app, CluckAR to find out if your eggs are the real deal.
  • Read our free range eggs buying guide to see what the stocking densities are used across a range of free range egg products.
  • Identify and boycott bad eggs by joining CHOICE’s boycott campaign.
  • Check the packaging or producer websites of the eggs for information about their standards and stocking density.

Below is a sneak preview of our free range egg app, CluckAR;