Tasmanian Times

Economy

Happy Jan gets an outing …

Regular readers will know that I have an obsession with the increasing reach of the regulatory bureaucracy in this state. Calm down – I’m not about to start another rant about the nanny state or red tape.

Today, I am going to give ‘Happy Jan’ an outing – yes, there is such a thing – and make a suggestion about how we could actually value-add a regulatory requirement. In other words, in the modern lingo, how we could make a regulation multi-tasked.

As you will now no doubt be aware, it is now a requirement for all eggs produced in Tasmania to be stamped before being sold. However, you might be surprised to learn two things:

despite the recent kerfuffle here, stamping eggs is not new; and
this new rule at the moment applies only to eggs produced in Tasmania.

Let me unpack those two points for you.

We are told that there are 12,000 cases a year in Australia of egg-related illnesses, and they are costing the nation $44 million. As recently as last month, a batch of bad eggs was blamed for a salmonella outbreak linked to the death of one elderly woman, the hospitalisation of at least seven others and 220 people reporting being sick after the food poisoning outbreak at a Brisbane Melbourne Cup function. We must be able to source contaminated food to minimise incidents like this – and that is why stamping is being introduced.

In the 1950s, the British Egg Marketing Board determined that British eggs should have a lion stamped on them, to show they were British. It was an official stamp, quite regal in fact. They used actor Sir Bernard Miles, who had a distinctive West Country accent, in TV commercials to remind the nation’s egg consumers to “look for the little lion” before they bought their eggs, so they knew what they were buying.

That initial Lion brand was adopted in 1998 by the British Egg Industry Council to demonstrate that the eggs are of the highest quality and are safe to eat. The British Lion is the now UK’s most successful food safety mark with nearly 90% of UK eggs now produced within the Lion scheme. Importantly, not only has this promoted the sale of local eggs, the Lion Code of Practice has effectively eradicated salmonella in British eggs. See more here.

I am certain that I speak for you all when I say that Tasmanians would prefer to eat Tasmanian eggs, wouldn’t we? We don’t want Queensland eggs, do we?

So here’s the positive suggestion. Now that all Tasmanian eggs have to be stamped before sale, how about we make that a distinct Tasmanian stamp? Why not a Tasmanian devil?

The devil stamp would clearly show that eggs come from Tasmania. This would make sure that the people who buy our eggs know that they are buying Tasmanian eggs and supporting local producers. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

And what better image of Tasmania is there than a little Tasmanian devil?

Now, let’s be clear – I am not for a minute suggesting that the cost of doing this should be borne by our long-suffering egg producers. Among other regulatory costs, they’ve already shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for machines to stamp eggs. (Sorry.) This is one instance where the government should provide the equipment needed to promote our clean green Tasmanian brand – whether that be a small hand stamp or a state of the art commercial egg stamping machine.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. mikey

    November 30, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I think this is a great idea and I’m sure there’s lots of other ideas can get going if we can get around the noise like in this case ‘add a levy for green cause’, ‘are they free range?’, fox???, native hen, that will lead to more suggestions, anyway great idea Jan we just need people in government to take some good ideas onboard, make positive decisions and not be swayed by the noisy uninformed minority, some people will never be happy.

  2. James Loring

    November 30, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I’d just like to know the real reason this new intrusion into private trade is being imposed.
    The traceability argument is fallacious so what’s the real intent?

  3. Doug Nichols

    November 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    #5, yes, and I remember an amusing ad that featured a husband at the kitchen table and his pythonesque wife demanding to know:

    “HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR EGGS, FRIED OR BOILED?”.

    The husband then went off into a dream imagining other possibilities – or poached, or scrambled, or coddled, or egg risotto, or … or egg mornay, at which point the wife cut in impatiently,

    “WELL?”

    “… er, Egg mornay please” (still dreaming)

    “WHAT’S THAT, FRIED OR BOILED?”

  4. mark hawkes

    November 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    How about a stamp featuring our own ‘Native-hen’?
    It would give the punters more than one thing to think about.

  5. reynard

    November 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I think the stamp should be an image of the Tasmanian Fox- “Vulpes Tasmanic Delusiona” – preferably a ghostly image.

  6. john hayward

    November 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    The problem with a devil icon is that some consumers might identify it with a virulent contagious cancer quite possibly triggered by one of the mutagenic chemicals sprayed around the state with cowboy abandon.

    If the icon is used, the devil deserves a small levy per dozen to adequately pay for saving the species.

    john Hayward

  7. TV Resident

    November 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    What about the customers certainty that when an egg cartons marked ‘free range’, that they are in fact getting ‘free range’ eggs. I, unfortunately, don’t trust the industry in general as they are renown for their cruelty to the chickens with overcrowding, debeaking etc. I would rather buy from a small backyarder than the big producers. The big industries have a lot of work to do to clean up their ethics before I will buy from big producers whether they be Tasmanian or interstate.

  8. Sue DeNim

    November 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Sounds like a great idea Jan.
    I would even go so far as to say that as we would be appropriating the image of the devil for marketing, to make sure we don’t lose the little guy, 1c per egg stamped or 10c from every dozen carton sold should go towards registered Tasmanian Devil protection schemes. Many are in operation, trying different methods, all of which will be critical in making sure we can hang on to this iconic species.

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