If you have a few chickens scratching in your back yard and occasionally sell a few eggs to your neighbour, or from a stall outside your farm, from 26 November 2013 (2014 in NSW and Victoria), unless your eggs are stamped you will be breaking the law.
This is due to a new national standard that requires eggs to be stamped under the guise of “traceability”, despite limited evidence showing this to be more effective than current packaging requirements.
In Tasmania the regulations will also require that you obtain a licence, lodge a Food Safety Plan (FSP) and pay to have that plan audited (the auditor costs $244 per hour, minimum two hours), regardless of how many birds you have.
Egg stamping is also expensive. Machines can start at $4,000 and the alternative – hand stamping each egg individually – is a prohibitive labour cost.
We believe that customers who buy directly from farmers hold them to the highest standards of animal welfare, food safety and biosecurity.
We also believe that imposing the cost of egg stamping and FSP audits on small farmers is unnecessarily penalising these small businesses and reducing their ability to grow into large ones. These new rules effectively restrict the ability of consumers to choose eggs produced by their local farmers.