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Egg labels website 'pro-industry, too confusing': Choice
26/06/2012 - The NSW government is being urged to scrap an egg labelling website that critics say is too pro-industry.
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While there is no national standard for free-range eggs, animal welfare activists say free-range labels should only be allowed if producers raised 1500 hens per hectare.
The Egg Corporation wants the definition to allow 20,000 birds a hectare.
The independent consumer watchdog Choice says the NSW Food Authority's "labelling: egg production systems" website, launched on Friday, was too cumbersome for consumers, who often pay a $5 premium for a dozen free-range eggs.
"Consumers have the right to know that when they're picking up a free-range egg it meets their expectations of what free-range is," spokeswoman Ingrid Just told ABC Radio on Monday.
Greens upper house MP John Kaye has called for Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to pull down the website on egg labelling.
"The site reads more like propaganda for the Egg Corporation," he said in a statement.
"It legitimises their push to allow the big industrial producers to use the 'free-range' label for eggs from stocking densities of 20,000 birds per hectare."
Kaye said it appeared Hodgkinson was on the side of industry, and called for Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts to be in charge of egg labelling regulations.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said food labelled in NSW had to comply with national requirements, and if Dr Kaye had a problem he should take it up with the federal government.
"If he's indeed so dissatisfied with the National Model Code, why hasn't he lobbied his Labor mates and Green melons in the commonwealth to have this code reviewed?
"Unlike the Greens, the NSW government recognises the reality that eggs are traded across borders every day, making egg labelling a national issue."
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