Do You Know Your 'Good Eggs'? NFU's Good Egg List

UK - From the big four supermarkets to top high street food chains and leading food manufacturers, the NFU is set to shine a light on those companies who have pledged to buy higher welfare eggs.
calendar icon 17 January 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

It has emerged that 13 EU countries have failed to comply with new welfare legislation for laying hens which came into force on 1 January.

The NFU has voiced serious concerns over the threat that imported eggs produced in conventional cages pose to British egg producers. The major concern is the threat of egg products which are hidden within foods such as cakes, salad dressings and quiches. As a result, the NFU and Defra have been contacting leading food companies and retailers to find out exactly who is a Good Egg and will stand by British eggs.

"This list certainly makes for interesting reading and shows how many companies are backing British egg producers and higher welfare standards," said NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns.

"We are extremely pleased that they have decided to support the industry to ensure it does not suffer at the hands of those producers in Europe that have had more than 12 years to meet new welfare standards but have failed.

"Sadly, some are yet to put their head above the parapet. Whether or not this is down to slow administration, difficulties in establishing traceability or even a refusal to commit to supporting the British egg industry, it is disappointing to say the least."

So far, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have confirmed they will not source any egg from conventional cages for their own brand products, as well as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Iceland and The Co-op.

Other supporters include manufacturers ABF, which produces Blue Dragon sauces and noodles, Premier Foods, producers of Mr Kipling, and United Biscuits, that makes McVitie’s. There is also hotel and restaurant company Whitbread, which runs Premier Inn, Costa and Beefeater, as well as Greggs, Starbucks and many others.

The 'good egg' list

British egg producers have invested £400m to meet the new legislation.

However, it has emerged that many producers in European countries have failed to adopt these new 'enriched' welfare standards.

As a result, the NFU and British egg farmers are extremely concerned that eggs produced by hens housed illegally in conventional battery cages may enter the UK's food chain – therefore undermining both the investment UK farmers have made and their commitment to higher welfare.

Because of the very serious risk these eggs pose to the future of the industry, the NFU and Defra have been engaging with some the country’s leading supermarkets, food chains, food processors and manufacturers.

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