Harris Farm Markets is going “cage free”, pledging to remove all eggs laid by caged hens from its stores’ shelves. The grocery chain, with 25 locations across New South Wales, will instead sell its own branded free-range eggs, produced within Australian standards (and checking out at $5.99 a dozen).

The definition of “free range” under Australian Consumer Law was recently reviewed, and Australian companies are no longer allowed to use the words “free range” on their cartons if their hens haven’t had regular access to an outdoor range during daylight hours, can’t roam freely, or are kept more than 10,000 hens per hectare of land.

Harris Farm told Broadsheet its egg-laying hens live 1500 hens per hectare.

To mark the change, Harris Farm will be holding an “egg amnesty” across all its Sydney stores on Saturday June 30, giving guilty customers the chance to swap any previously bought cage eggs (any brand) for a carton of Harris Farm free-range eggs – for free. The donated cage eggs will be redistributed by Ignite Food Store, which provides low-cost, healthy fresh food to low-income families.

There will also be a pop-up omelette bar at its flagship store the same day, where customers will be able to order free omelettes, free-range. Harris Farm will also be slinging free omelettes at its Bondi Westfield, Drummoyne, Lindfield and Manly outposts, from 7am until 10pm.

“We’re a family-owned business that believes good food is a combination of great taste and the best production practices,” said Harris Farm director Tristan Harris in an official statement. “And with eggs, this starts with happy hens. Eggs are a natural wonder and the chickens that lay them should have the opportunity to live in the best conditions.”

The decision comes after the family-owned grocery chain went 100 per cent plastic-bag free on January 1 this year.