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Australian poultry producers confronted about misleading labelling

Australia's consumer watchdog is pursuing poultry producing companies over claims of misleading labelling regarding the way in which poultry is housed during production.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced federal court action against Baiada Poultry, Bartter Enterprises, which supplies Steggles, and Turi Foods, which supplies La Ionica.

The ACCC is also prosecuting the Australian Chicken Meat Federation. The Federation has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made misleading representations that meat chickens are raised in barns in which meat chickens have substantial space available allowing them to roam around freely, the ACCC alleges.

"'Free to roam in large barns' implies we have good animal welfare standards, which we do not. Twenty million chickens die in this environment each year," said Glenys Oogjes, executive director of welfare organisation, Animals Australia, adding that consumer confidence in the correct labelling of animal farming was waning, following repeated reports about the treatment of chickens.

Consumer group Choice is also calling for terms such as 'free to roam, free range and organic' to be clearly defined. "Consumers need confidence that any product labelled free range or otherwise, actually meets expectation in relation to animal husbandry standards," Ingrid Just, Choice media spokeswoman said.

In January this year, The Independent Panel for the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy released its final Report, titled Labelling Logic. Among the recommendations was the call for the establishment of an agreed Australian standard for terms related to animal farming.

A spokeswoman for Baiada Poultry said it, "strongly refutes the allegations made by the ACCC".

Source: Sydney Moring Herald

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One comment

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    Ken Marshall. poultryconsultant.com

    What's the bottom line in this now becoming "world wide saga of free range v controlled environment" housing type for broiler chickens.
    Surely it boils down to the producers skill in his production management capabilities. You will have some good management and some bad management within each system. Free range under the wrong environmental conditions that prevail in a country or area of that country will have a much more negative effect on the chicken's welfare than a properly managed ce house. In other words management is the deciding factor.

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