ACCC takes action against Ecoeggs
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Derodi Pty Ltd (Derodi) and Holland Farms Pty Ltd (Holland) alleging that their use of ‘free range’ in relation to their Ecoeggs, Field Fresh and Port Stephens egg brands was false and misleading.
Derodi and Holland have a business known as Free Range Egg Farms. The business supplies eggs under the label Ecoeggs nationally, and under the labels Port Stephens and Field Fresh Free Range Eggs in New South Wales.
The ACCC alleges that Derodi and Holland made false, misleading or deceptive representations on egg cartons, websites, a Facebook page and a Twitter account to the effect that the eggs supplied and labelled as “free range” were produced:by hens that were farmed in conditions so that the hens were able to move about freely on an open range on every ordinary day; and/or by hens, most of which moved about freely on an open range on most days.
The ACCC alleges that the hens used to produce the eggs for the Free Range Egg Farms business were not able to move about freely on an open range on an ordinary day because of the farming practices and conditions of the farms where the hens were kept.
The ACCC also alleges that most of the hens did not move about freely on an open range on most days.
“The ACCC considers that free range means more than animals just having potential access to the outdoors,” ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said.
“Consumers expect free range to mean animals genuinely can and do go outside on most days.”
The ACCC has asked the Court for declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, orders for the implementation of compliance programs, corrective notices and costs.
The proceedings are set down for a directions hearing in Sydney at 9.30am on 4 February 2015 before Justice Edmonds.