UK egg industry urges government to reconsider trade deal

Industry wants eggs excluded from CPTPP
calendar icon 12 July 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA have joined forces to urge the UK government to reconsider its decision to exclude eggs as a sensitive sector in the recently agreed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), according to a press release from the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFRPA).

According to BFRPA, the UK government has ignored industry warnings that the deal allows the import of eggs from countries using conventional battery cage systems that were made illegal in the UK in 2012 as the agreement allows for import tariffs on eggs and egg products to be phased out over a 10-year period. The danger to British consumers is that egg products could be imported from countries like Mexico, which almost exclusively relies on battery cages for egg production. Such imports would undercut British egg producers who operate to significantly higher standards of animal welfare and world-leading food safety standards under the British Lion Code of Practice.

“It is almost unbelievable that the government would let consumers down like this. Shoppers will be horrified to learn that eggs in their food products could soon be coming from battery cages more than a decade after they were banned here," said Mark Williams, BEIC chief executive. "To rubber stamp a deal which effectively sanctions the importation of eggs from conventional (battery) caged systems which are outlawed here is not only counter-intuitive, but it also completely undermines the countrywide standards that are adhered to by the UK egg industry. This particularly affects the egg products sector which could see the importation of low welfare eggs, whilst UK egg farmers rightly continue to invest in ensuring higher welfare standards for their birds."

“It is incumbent on the government to review the position of eggs and egg products to ensure they are granted sensitive status before the CPTPP deal is expected to be signed on 16th July, otherwise they are complicit in bringing to the UK eggs from hens kept in conventional cages that are well below the welfare standards expected by the British consumer," Williams added.

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