Free-range egg scarcity prompts imports

UK - Behind the potentially damaging headlines warning of egg fraud and salmonella scares lie some issues of deep concern for the egg industry, not least of which is the arrival of foreign eggs on retail shelves. ALISTAIR DRIVER reports on an industry at the crossroads.
calendar icon 24 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

THE UK has run out of free-range eggs, forcing supermarkets to begin stocking their shelves with French imports.

Somerfield has become the first retailer to admit bringing in imports from France but, such is the shortage, it is seen as inevitable that others will follow suit.

Rocketing consumer demand for free-range eggs has not been matched by increased supply. Productivity has been affected by disease in the national laying flock and the hot summer weather.

Producers are also blaming supermarkets and packers for not paying enough for their eggs and failing to stimulate production in response to burgeoning demand.

The final straw appears to have been the raid on a Worcestershire egg supplier last month in connection with alleged egg labelling fraud, since when there ‘has not been a spare free-range egg on the market’, according to the British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association.

Source: Farmers Guardian

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