13 March 2017
Illegal labelling of eggs is an isolated incident and does not reflect Industry practice
Statement from Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the Egg Producers Federation
“The Egg Producers Federation is extremely disappointed in the illegal and misleading activity allegedly undertaken by a sole operator who is under investigation by the SFO.
“As the investigation is into one operator of the 126 commercial egg farms in New Zealand, it gives us confidence this is not an industry-wide issue.
“Our egg industry is unique in terms of agriculture in that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) conducts checks on all commercial egg operators at least once a year to verify for food safety issues, including traceability back to the farm of production.
“Records of egg production and supply must be kept by operators and available for audit by MPI on request. This is one of the key checks to ensure consumers are getting what is on the label, however in many industries there are individuals determined to break the law by falsifying information for audit. These allegations suggest this individual is one of those.
“The Egg Producers Federation does not tolerate any person misleading consumers with false information and will be working closely with all parties to get to the truth of these allegations.
“Consumers can be reassured that the Industry has been progressing initiatives to strengthen the traceability framework of egg from farm to point of purchase, well before the SFO contacted us as they investigated this isolated investigation.
“We are well advanced on Egg Stamping, which is the process of using an inkjet system to stamp the type of egg production system onto the egg itself, at the time of packing at the farm. This would mitigate any fraudulent efforts to change the labeling of the eggs at any point along the supply chain.
“Transparency and traceability are paramount to the integrity of any food-related industry. All parties involved along the supply chain and auditing of free range and cage egg production must work together to strengthen procedures industry-wide so consumers can be assured of the origin of their eggs of choice.”
For further information please contact Michael Brooks, Executive Director Egg Producers Federation, on 027 221 8228, (09) 520 4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org