Author Topic: Free-range eggs claim:Pirovic Enterprises fined for misleading, deceiving buyers  (Read 5193 times)

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Free-range eggs claim: Pirovic Enterprises fined for misleading, deceiving customers

By Joanna Woodburn  Updated 23 Sep 2014, 2:39pmTue 23 Sep 2014, 2:39pm

    Free range eggs shown with caged eggs. height=227 Photo: The ACCC took Pirovic Enterprises to court for claiming their eggs were free range. (AAP Image: Alan Porritt)     

A New South Wales egg producer has been fined for misleading and deceiving consumers over claims its eggs were free range.

The Federal Court has found Pirovic Enterprises incorrectly marketed its eggs as free-range because its hens were unable to move freely on open ranges.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took the company to court because of its marketing on its cartons and website.

Justice Flick told the Federal Court that Pirovic could not justify its claims because of stocking density and flock sizes in its barns.

He ordered the company to pay $300,000 and establish a trade practices compliance program.

Outside the court Verna Simpson from Humane Society International said she was not surprised by the outcome.

"I would have expected a higher fine than that, but I suppose it's because he accepted the liability," she said.

The Federal Court heard late last month that both parties reached an in-principle agreement to settle the case.

Justice Flick told the court that this played a considerable role in determining the judgement and penalty.

Pirovic issued a statement which said the adverse findings related to packaging and farming conditions that were phased out in January 2014.

The company said it had already voluntarily committed to upgrading its free-range sheds and changing its free-range farming practices before the ACCC launched the proceedings.

Pirovic said the case highlights the need for a mandatory and uniform standard for free-range egg production to provide certainty for consumers and egg producers.