The Hodgman government must review the Tasmanian Primary Produce Safety (Egg) Regulations and consult with local small egg producers before the new labelling system is brought in, Greens Leader and Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“Our back-yard egg producers are warning that the constraints on the number of laying chooks, registration and labelling requirements will drive them out of business,” Mr Booth said.
“The Greens support the call of those who gathered at Hobart’s Farm Gate Market today calling for a review of the constraints imposed by these unworkable regulations.”
“Many back-yard eggs are derived from family businesses or side-lines to a larger biodynamic produce operation, where chooks are integrated into the overall management plan such as keeping weeds down without using pesticides, for example.”
“There needs to be a review into the allowable flock size. Victoria and New South Wales both allow for larger flocks than Tasmania will under these regulations, and there also needs to be recognition of the role hens play within businesses’ overall weed management and soil fertility management plans.”
“Restrictions surrounding egg stamping, labelling and re-use of clean cartons also need to be addressed from the egg producers’ perspective, along with health authorities and consumer affairs.”
“Unamended, these regulations will potentially drive these operators out of business. Small, mixed holdings do not have the administrative capacity of large, industrial egg producers, and the additional resources and time required to comply with these regulations could be the difference between making or breaking a fledgling family business.”
“The Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, now has a real opportunity to act on the Liberals’ ‘slashing red tape’ rhetoric, otherwise his inaction will expose the fact ‘red tape’ has just been swapped for as equally destructive ‘blue tape’.”
“Everyone wants to ensure the appropriate balance is struck between food safety, domestic consumers’ right to accurate information, and small businesses being able to earn a living. These Regulations in their current form do not strike this balance,” Mr Booth said.