THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed that eggs being produced in barren battery cages across the EU, and egg products made from them, cannot be exported from their own countries of origin and sold on the UK market.
In a letter to the British Egg Industry Council, Food Minister Jim Paice stated that, under an agreement between the Commission and non-compliant Member States, "eggs from conventional cages could only go to processing in the Member State of origin and could not be exported" and that the "egg products created could only be used in food products or industrial products manufactured within the Member State of origin".
British egg producers have invested £400m converting to enriched cages to comply with new European legislation that came into force on January 1. The Welfare of Laying Hens Directive bans the use of so-called barren cages.Yet producers in 13 other EU countries, including Spain, Italy and Poland, have not fully complied with the ban. It is estimated that around 25% of EU cage egg production does not meet the legal requirements, with some 50 million hens still being kept in barren battery cages, producing more than 40 million eggs a day.
There are also a small number of UK producers that have, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, not met the conversion deadline