A new national Egg Standard came into effect on 26 November 2012. It includes a requirement that eggs produced for sale must be individually stamped with the producer's unique identification. The purpose is to enable quick and accurate tracing for either biosecurity or food safety issues.
The new requirement will be given effect under the relevant Act in each State and Territory - in Tasmania's case, that is the Primary Produce Safety Act 2011.
DPIPWE has been in discussion with the local industry about the regulations that will give effect to the egg stamping requirement here in Tasmania. Those discussions should be finalised shortly and the new regulation will be published some time after that - most likely in early 2013.
In Tasmania, in order for producers to be able to make the changes needed to meet the egg stamping requirement, there is to be a 12 month phase-in period. This means that, while the egg stamping requirement will be in place, it will not be legally enforceable in Tasmania until 26 November 2013.
An issue arises because other States have different phasing-in periods. New South Wales and Victoria have decided on a 2 year phasing-in period, which means that the egg stamping requirement won't be actively enforced over there until 26 November 2014. Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia are already enforcing the egg stamping requirement.
What this all means in practice is that from 26 November 2013, eggs must not be sold in Tasmania if they haven't been stamped. Those NSW and Victorian producers who are still not stamping their eggs by then will not be able to sell their eggs in Tasmania. Of course, the above all relates to the legal requirement for egg stamping. Supermarket chains and other retailers may make the business decision not to buy unstamped eggs from producers before the legal requirement comes into effect.
The definition of "commercial egg producer" that's been in effect for many years will change only slightly under the new regulations. A person who supplies any quantity of eggs on a commercial basis will need to be legally accredited. However most backyarders will not need accreditation, or be required to stamp their eggs, providing the eggs are not intended for wholesale or retail sale.
For more information about the transition phase to the new egg stamping requirements in Tasmania, please contact Stephen Hall at DPIPWE on (03) 6233 6883 or by email - Stephen.Hall@dpipwe.tas.gov.au.