Five face prosecution in multi-million ‘free-range’ egg scam

Five people face prosecution in connection with a fraud involving millions of battery eggs which were sold to consumers as free-range, RTL news reports on Monday.

The public prosecution department says the five – two egg producers and three poultry farmers – made hundreds of thousands of euros from labelling battery eggs as more animal-friendly free-range ones.

The factory farms had far more chickens than noted in their books, meaning the birds did not have enough room to qualify as free-range or free-run chickens, the public prosecutor says.

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According to the official Dutch definition, free-range eggs are produced by chickens who share a square metre of barn with eight others and never go outside. Vrije uitloop eggs come from hens with access to an outdoor pen.

Not only was this fraudulent, but it also led to the companies having an unfair advantage over egg producers which do meet the rules on free-range eggs, the department is quoted as saying by RTL.

The case will open on May 30 in Arnhem. The fraud is said to have taken place between 2009 and 2011.

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