Regulating food labels: The case of free range food products in Australia

The project “Regulating food labels: The case of free range food products in Australia” is investigating the regulation of free range labelling in Australia for eggs, chicken meat and pig meat

Project overview

The project is led by Professor Christine Parker of Melbourne Law School, in collaboration with Dr Gyorgy Scrinis of the Food Policy Research Group in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences.

This project is funded by an ARC Discovery Grant (2015-2017).

Project aims

The project aims to:

  • Identify more effective, legitimate and stakeholder-inclusive ways to regulate free range and other animal welfare claims on food labels in Australia
  • Identify how food producers, retailers, private certification organisations and regulatory agencies in Australia are responding to the changing demands for ethical and quality foods
  • Map the production systems that lie behind free range and other animal welfare labels in Australia

Project approach

The project adopts a regulatory networks approach to food labelling and draws on a range of research methods, including product surveys, stakeholder interviews, workshops and media analysis. Comparative research is also being conducted in Europe and the United States to identify promising approaches to regulating free range labelling that could be applied Australia.  

Why is the project needed?

There has been significant and ongoing controversy in Australia over free-range labelling for animal products. Consumer trust in labelling systems has been undermined by confusion about the production systems that lie behind the label and by revelations that free range production systems do not always match consumer expectations. This project aims to enhance consumer trust in the food system in Australia by developing more effective and stakeholder-inclusive approaches to the regulation of free range labelling. 

Project team

Professor Christine Parker
Melbourne Law School

Dr Gyorgy Scrinis
Senior Lecturer 
Food Policy Research Group
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences

Dr Rachel Carey 
Research Fellow 
Food Policy Research Group
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences

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