Scottish Shoppers Urged to Buy British Eggs

SCOTLAND, UK - Shoppers should buy British eggs amid concerns that nearly a quarter of eggs from elsewhere in the European Union are still being produced from illegally-caged hens, an MEP has warned.
calendar icon 3 January 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

With effect from 31 December, all eggs produced in Europe should be produced from hens kept in high welfare systems or free range barns.

However, it is estimated that up to 51 million eggs – nearly a quarter of all EU production – will still not meet welfare standards because 13 countries have failed to comply with the ban on cages.

Richard Ashworth MEP, Conservative agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, said: "I have been warning the European Commission that offending member states of the EU have no imperative to comply with the law whatsoever and potentially exposing UK egg producers to grossly unfair competition.

"I am keen to protect UK egg producers who are 100 per cent compliant with the new law against grossly unfair competition in other EU member states who will be producing cheaper eggs in conditions that are illegal."

The 1999 EU laying hens directive gave member states 12 years to switch from standard battery cages to "enriched" cages, which are larger and contain litter, perches and a scratching post.

According to, as many as 100 million hens are estimated to be unlawfully housed, producing in excess of 40 million eggs a day.

But while 100 per cent of all British egg producers will be compliant with the EU-wide law introduced today, many countries are not. Mr Ashworth added: "I am particularly concerned that Spain and Poland, who are amongst Europe’s largest egg producers, will not be ready to scrap battery cages."

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