Ali Mau: I'm mad as a wet hen over 'free range' eggs

OPINION: Today's revelations that millions of caged eggs may have been repackaged as free-range made me mad as a wet hen.

I buy those eggs at Countdown every week, because I loathe the practice of keeping hens in cages.

It's blatantly cruel - we all know that. You can't have seen all the secretly filmed videos and believed the situation is anything less than misery for the animals.

Yet these Palace Poultry eggs plainly say on their distinctive packet that they're FREE RANGE.

The problem here is that what regulations there are, are split between the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Commerce Commission. There's no single entity that oversees all the rules when it comes to food labelling.

Claims like 'free range' come under the Fair Trading Act and therefore fall to the Commerce Commission to deal with, but the Animal Welfare Act 2012 outlining the minimum standards for farming chickens is overseen by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

And that may be how cases like this appear to have slipped between the cracks. As a consumer, that's not good enough to me.

I can afford free range, unlike a lot of people, so I put my money where my mouth is and I gladly pay for them.

I buy other brands of free range eggs too, but I've noted over the months that I go for Palace eggs more often than not because they're usually a little bit cheaper.

I put it down to their green packaging, which is uglier and less fancy than a lot of the other free range brands.

But maybe the no-frills look and price should have raised a flag for me. Because there's no such thing as a free omelette, is there?