The truth behind this statement was only discovered many years later when a food activist and filmmaker, Wendy Hardie questioned the eggs that Woolworths used in their pre-prepared food lines. To her disappointment she discovered that battery eggs were used. Wendy made her concerns known and shared it with the public and so the battle began.
Finally after many years of consumer pressure, in November 2011, Woolworths opened its brand-new free-range liquid egg facility at Eikenhof and announced the launch of 60 free-range egg-containing food products in their stores plus the plan to produce approximately half of all Woolworths egg-containing products with free-range egg by March 2012.
“This is an amazing milestone, but it’s not over,” said Woolworths MD Zyda Rylands at the opening of the Eikenhof plant. “This is the latest step on our journey to make good on our promise to use only free-range eggs in our products. The switchover will continue until every Woolworths product that’s made with egg, is made with free-range eggs.
So should this ‘achievement’ now be applauded? Is this not what consumers and customers were mislead to believe was achieved nine years ago?
Latest Statements by Woolworths:
Woolworths says on their Taste Magazine website, “Free-range egg production in South Africa is regulated by the Agricultural Product Standards Act. Woolworths free-range egg supplier farmers are fully compliant with the regulatory requirements and the requirements for free-range production as stipulated by the South African Poultry Association. ”
“Woolworths will be changing factory-by-factory as this is controllable and Woolworths can guarantee integrity.”
On their Good Food Journey update
Free range: Woolworths is proud to be the first and only major local retailer to only sell whole free-range eggs in our stores. Our supplier farms are regularly audited and our free-range hens have access to more than enough food and water, sunshine and shade, the outdoors and protective shelters. They are fed a grain-based diet that contains no animal by-products. We’re also working on increasing the number of food lines that are made with free range eggs.”
Says Kevin Lovell, CEO of the Southern African Poultry Association (Sapa): “’Free-range’ as a poultry concept is not currently fully covered by law in South Africa. There is a limited form of control through the current egg packing regulations under the control of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
According to Compassion in World Farming, 26 million laying hens are still incarcerated in battery cages around South Africa.