Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP today released the consultation paper to consider options to enhance consumer confidence and certainty around egg labelling.
"In June, the meeting of federal, state and territory Consumer Affairs Ministers agreed this consultation paper would be the first step in identifying what further action may be required to offer consumers assurance that their free range eggs are labelled correctly," Minister O'Dwyer said.
"It was decided that this consultation paper will form part of the preparations for the draft national standard on egg labelling.
"Our aim is to balance consumers' need for clear and accurate information with any potential red-tape burden for producers and retailers.
"Stakeholders will be consulted and encouraged to provide feedback to help develop the draft national standard."
Options to be considered for the draft national standard include:
- a basic definition of 'free range' for egg labelling purposes;
- a possible 'defence' to assist producers uncertain of when it would be appropriate to use a free range label;
- the mandatory disclosure of specific information to consumers; and
- the possible creation of specifically-defined labelling categories, such as 'premium free range' and 'access to range'.
"A cost benefit analysis will be prepared as part of this process ahead of the next meeting in February 2016," Minister O'Dwyer said.
The consultation paper is available on the Treasury website and the Australian Consumer Law website. Written submissions are due by 2 November 2015 and consultations will continue to the end of the year.