Green Party MP Mojo Mathers has written to the Commerce Commission asking it to inquire into the alleged mislabelling of eggs laid in cages as “free-range”, the Green Party said today.
An investigation into the Palace Poultry brand has revealed that millions of cage-laid eggs were allegedly mislabelled and sold as “free-range”. Egg brands Woodland, Farmer Brown, and Countdown’s Select also reportedly sourced their “free-range” eggs from Palace Poultry.
“New Zealanders should be able to trust that when they buy free-range eggs, they’re actually free range,” said Ms Mathers.
“A huge number of people are willing to pay more for free range eggs with the expectation that they’re supporting a healthier and cruelty-free environment for hens.
“Caged egg producers should not be benefiting from the premium that free-range products command.
“A Commerce Commission inquiry is necessary to protect genuine free-range farmers at risk of losing public trust in their product.
“I understand the Ministry of Primary Industries were auditing Palace Poultry at the time these eggs were allegedly mislabelled. This raises questions about whether regulators have adequate systems in place to stop this happening again.
“I have asked the Commission to undertake a broad based inquiry to determine the scale of the problem around animal welfare labelling and if there are gaps in the regulation of such claims.
“I look forward to hearing back from the Commission,” Ms Mathers said.