LAST UPDATED: 16 June 2015
AECL had hatched a plan to create their own accreditation scheme, Egg Standard Australia (ESA), which would increase accepted stocking density for hens on 'free range' farms by more than 10 times the current rate.
In an initial assessment, the ACCC proposed that the scheme's rules have the potential to mislead or deceive consumers who believed they were buying genuine free range eggs.
There are currently no enforceable national standards to define the conditions for free range hens, but a voluntary code caps the number of birds per hectare at 1,500. AECL wanted to increase this stocking density to a staggering 20,000 hens per hectare.