ACCC begins Federal Court proceedings against Rosie's Free Range Eggs
· by: Verity Edwards
· From: The Australian
· March 09, 2012 12:00AM
FAMILY business Barossa Fine Foods has built its reputation on selling quality meats and smallgoods.
But it is worried after learning it has been distributing eggs from a company being prosecuted by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.
The ACCC announced yesterday that it had begun Federal Court proceedings against Rosie's Free Range Eggs, alleging that "a substantial proportion of the eggs were not free-range but cage eggs".
The consumer watchdog alleges that between March 2007 and October 2010, Rosemary Bruhn represented that eggs she supplied to 117 retail outlets, including bakeries, cafes and restaurants, were free-range when many were not.
Ms Bruhn's Eudunda farm is 110km north of Adelaide. Her website and cartons show pictures of chickens in lavender fields.
She appeared in 2006 on the defunct ABC program The Cook and The Chef.
The company claims to be audited annually by Southern Eggs. Neither Southern Eggs nor Ms Bruhn returned calls yesterday. Barossa Fine Foods has been selling up to 300 dozen of Rosie's Free Range Eggs weekly for almost a decade at its eight South Australian stores.
General manager Stephan Knoll said yesterday it was a shock to hear of the ACCC allegations, given his company's long association with Ms Bruhn.
"We try to look after local businesses, but if she's found to be doing the wrong thing it makes it difficult" to support her, he said. "We'll wait for the findings, but if there's any truth to this we'll consider taking them off the shelves."
Barossa Fine Foods prided itself on integrity, he said, and an association with any allegedly misleading company would not reflect well on his business.
"It's not whether they're cage or free-range, it's the truth that we're concerned about."
Mr Knoll is on the committee of regional body Barossa Food, of which Rosie's Free Range Eggs is also a member.
He said Barossa Food would reconsider Ms Bruhn's membership if the court found against her.
A Federal Court directions hearing is listed for March 28.