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The Choice CluckAR app

If you find buying eggs confusing you’re certainly not the only one. The federal government’s review of the standards for labelling free range eggs, which was completed in March of last year, was supposed to simplify things and help to ensure that consumers get what they pay for when buying eggs but unfortunately the demands of the big egg producers won out.

The new standards allow for eggs from hens stocked at up to 10,000 per hectare (or 1 bird per square metre) to be labelled free range, which is more than 6 times the stocking density specified by the CSRIO’s Model Code of Practice for Domestic Poultry. The standards also state that hens must have ‘meaningful and regular access to the outdoors’, but there is no requirement that they actually ever venture out.

So, what to do? Thankfully, consumer group Choice has come up with the CluckAR app. Simply download the app from the App Store, scan the egg carton you’re considering purchasing and voila – in a matter of seconds the app tells you the stocking density and whether the product meets the CSRIO Model Code’s standards true free range eggs (stocking density no more than 1,500 hens per hectare).

Here is an example of a carton of eggs that meets the CSRIO Model Code’s standards for true free range eggs:

cluckar-app

And one that doesn’t …….

Choice-egg-2

Choice is also calling for a boycott of the big producers who are selling eggs from hens that don’t meet the CSIRO’s Model Code. Products on the boycott list include:

  • Aldi Lodge Farm
  • Coles Free Range Eggs
  • Country Fresh
  • Eco Eggs
  • Farm Pride
  • Field Fresh
  • Foodland
  • Golden Eggs
  • Manning Valley
  • Meggles Farm
  • Misty Mountain
  • Pace Farm
  • Pace Omega 3
  • South Gippsland
  • Woolworths Select
  • Pioneer
  • Otway
  • Essential Foods
  • MMM

While it’s a crying shame that the government wasted an opportunity to bring the practices of the egg industry in line with consumer expectations so that buying a carton of eggs labelled free range meant that the eggs came from hens who had adequate space to move around and lived their lives outdoors, we can still vote with our wallets by only buying eggs that meet the Model Code’s standards. Choice’s CluckAR app makes it easy!

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