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Egg rule scramble worries producer

Egg rule scramble worries producer

 

EGGS sold at farmers’ markets may not meet the same food safety standards as those sold by larger commercial producers, according to a prominent egg producer.

Former Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia president Phil Westwood said he had “certainly seen unsafe produce” sold at farmers’ markets where “eggs are not produced to the same standards” of commercial operators.

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“A lot of suppliers don’t meet regulations and it’s putting consumers at risk,” Mr Westwood said. “We hope the [Victorian] Government will tighten enforcement and regulation around the selling of eggs at farmers’ markets.”
‘Tighten enforcement’: Egg farmer Phil Westwood, of Grantville, is concerned about the lack of regulation on eggs sold at farmers’ markets. Picture: Dannika Bonser
Mr Westwood, from Grantville, sells at farmers’ markets and retail outlets.

Outgoing PrimeSafe chairman Leonard Vallance has said the Government created “double standards” for people selling meat at farmers’ markets.

 

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“They are nowhere near adequately regulated,” Mr Vallance told The Weekly Times.

Mr Westwood echoed Mr Vallance’s call for improved regulation.

“There needs to be a level playing field instead of the current system where compliance with regulations is optional,” Mr Vallance said.

“In most cases it’s just too hard and they (local councils) can’t be bothered.”

Mr Westwood said there was a “raft of discrepancies” between eggs sold at farmers’ markets and those sold at retail outlets. “We stamp our eggs and use new cartons, for a start,” he said.

The cost of adhering to safety measures was a concern for Mr Westwood, but his primary concern was poor enforcement would lead to an outbreak of illness. “If someone gets sick, it’s too late then.”

A Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources spokesman said anyone selling eggs to the public was required to register with their local council.

“If anyone thinks eggs are being improperly retailed at a farmers’ market, they should contact the local council,” the spokesman said.

 

By KATH SULLIVAN, The Weekly Times
July 15, 2016 12:00am

Link to original story HERE

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