STOP PRESS: Not all they’re cracked up to be? Free range eggs-posé

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY BUYING?: Are we getting fair dinkum eggs? It’s pretty hazy on what actually constitutes free-range. Photo: FILE PHOTO
WHAT ARE YOU REALLY BUYING?: Are we getting fair dinkum eggs? It’s pretty hazy on what actually constitutes free-range. Photo: FILE PHOTO

Despite costing nearly three times the price of 'conventional' eggs produced by hens in cages, we’re now eating 421,000,000 dozen eggs a year, or 226 each, with our toast and coffee, and 40.7 per cent of total sales are free range.

And it’s not only the animal liberationists who believe cage hen farming is cruel who are paying a premium price as high as $7 a dozen in Orange supermarkets this week while you can buy cage eggs for around $3.

People claim free range taste better and some Orange restaurants now won't use anything else.

But many consumers are paying the extra assuming hens are staying in the equivalent of a comfortable bed and breakfast, but instead they're stuck in a crowded backpacker hostel.

And rather than being nutritionally superior, free-range eggs simply offer consumers another option because of a concern for the welfare of the cage hens.

But are we getting what we pay for?

For eggs to be labelled free range, the Model Code of Practice says there should be a maximum of 1500 hens a hectare, but many ‘free range’ brands don’t adhere to this with some keeping as many as 10,000 chooks a hectare, including, Choice says, Coles, Woolworths Select and Aldi brands.

IGA wouldn’t disclose their stocking density.

So it’s pretty hazy on what actually constitutes a fair dinkum free-range egg because consumers’ expectations of contented chooks clucking and flapping around open green pastures aren’t always a reality.

POLITICAL SAGA MIGHT WELL BE LOCALISED

YOU reckon the Feds’ dual citizenship saga is a farce. Can you imagine the uproar if local government councillors were found to be ineligible to hold office because of their citizenship?

But then that’s not as silly as it might sound and here’s why.

The Electoral Commission says anyone entitled to vote at elections for a council is eligible to stand for election as a councillor or as the mayor if, and here’s the crunch, “they’re at least 18 years old and an Australian citizen or a British subject who was on an Australian electoral roll on 25 January 1984…”

So it seems pretty clear that candidates who aren’t Australian or a British subject who weren’t on the roll at least 33 years ago are probably ineligible for election.

How many councillors could be affected? Could there be any in Orange? Wouldn’t that put the cat among the pigeons. 

WHO CAN AND CAN’T RUN RED LIGHTS?

DRIVERS cop a hefty $439 fine and lose three demerit points in NSW if they’re caught running a red light.

Channel 9s RBT program the other night showed a highway patrol senior officer following a driver he suspected had been drinking.

The driver failed to stop at a red light and the police car also went through the red before pulling him over.

The breath test was negative but the copper handed him a $439 fine for the red light breach and then explained how dangerous it was.

So can police go through red lights or break other road rules?

The RMS doesn’t comment on that issue but says non-police vehicles have to pull over and stop to give a police car behind them a clear passage if it has its flashing lights and siren on.