Australian Pasteurised Eggs was registered in February 2016 and its directors are Ms Atkinson, Geoffrey Sondergeld and Mark Eddy and the holding company is The Original Safe Eggs Assured Co.
The directors of the Original Safe Eggs Assured Co are Ms Atkinson, Mr Sondergeld and Mr Eddy and the shareholders in the company are Safe Eggs Australia and NPE (Consortium).
NPE’s directors are Tony Alford and Kyriakos Skoullos. Mr Skoullos is the founder of Victoria’s Hudson Pacific food company which was bought by Retail Food Group for $88 million.
Ms Atkinson is the sole shareholder of NPE.
Mr Alford left his position as managing director of RFG in June 2016 and left the company’s board about a year later. Ms Atkinson left her senior executive role company in 2017.
Both recently attended a parliamentary inquiry hearing that is looking into RFG’s treatment of franchisees.
At the hearing, Mr Alford struggled to recall how many companies he has been a director of and said it may be as many as 674.
“I don’t know the exact number of companies of which I was a director,” Mr Alford said. “It was many.”
Australian Pasteurised Eggs is another shared interest for Ms Atkinson and Mr Alford whose relationship came under scrutiny from the inquiry.
Ms Atkinson told the inquiry she had “no domestic relationship” with Mr Alford however said the pair did share a house together on holidays in Port Douglas.
Mr Alford and Ms Atkinson said they owned commercial and residential properties together through various entities but refused to provide further details of the properties.
Mr Alford and Ms Atkinson did not respond to a request for comment on their involvement in Australian Pasteurised Eggs.
Mr Sondergeld said he did not want to discuss the owners of Australian Pasteurised Eggs.
“They are individuals who have left money and left me to grow the business,” he said.
He said his fellow directors, Ms Atkinson and Mr Eddy, played a limited role in the day to day operations of Australian Pasteurised Eggs.
“As normal directors of any business they are there to ensure the appropriate governance and guidance,” he said.
High tech processing centre
Mr Sondergeld said Australian Pasteurised Eggs has spent two years building a “high tech processing centre” in Toowoomba at a cost of more than $20 million.
The centre started operations in November and Mr Sondergeld said Qantas and Emirates are using the eggs on their flights and Australian Pasteurised Eggs is also supplying clients in the aged care sector including Aveo.
A spokesperson for Qantas said the airline is not using the product but one of its caterers, Dnata, may use the eggs. Dnata confirmed it uses Australian Pasteurised Eggs. Emirates did not respond to a request for comment.
John Casey the national food services manager executive chef at Aveo Group, has backed the Australian Pasteurised Eggs’ product.
“We were keen to be the first to use these eggs as our commitment to be innovative with food: in our kitchens and in our restaurants, providing our residents with a variety of dishes previously unavailable in this sector,” Mr Casey said.
Mr Sondergeld is enthusiastic about the growth prospects for Australian Pasteurised Eggs.
“The product is in 90 per cent of hospitals and aged care across 50 states in the United States, I would like to think we could get similar penetration here,” he said.
Follow MySmallBusiness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Cara is the small business editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald based in Melbourne