Operators warned to check supply chain after concerns over egg products

14 February 2013 by
Operators warned to check supply chain after concerns over egg products

Operators have been warned to check the source of egg products after it was revealed there are still 20 million hens laying eggs in non-compliant battery cages a year after their ban.

As Europe examines food supply chains in the wake of the horse meat scandal, British Lion egg processors have claimed that 600 tonnes of non-compliant egg products a day are being produced in Europe and distributed across the continent.

These eggs are meant to stay in their country of origin, but they are allowed to be exported if processed in another product.

Ian Jones, chairman of British Lion egg processors, said it was possible that products such as quiche, mayonnaise and pasteurised egg may contain battery farmed eggs.

"These figures are conservative estimates and in all likelihood production from non-compliant cages has actually been higher, but either way it's just not acceptable and until it is stopped, there is a very real concern that egg products could be entering the UK supply chain."

British Egg Industry Council chief executive Mark Williams said that the European Commission was aware that some countries were still not observing the ban but were failing to hold them to account.

There were 13 non-compliant states at the beginning of 2012, when the ban on battery cages was introduced, dropping to 10 in June. It is now thought that at least two member states still allow the practice.

Williams said: "We have asked the European commission repeatedly for an update but they refuse on the basis that the country in question would potentially face legal action."

Anyone purchasing imported egg products risked them being sourced from hens kept in cages that were non-compliant, Jones said.

He added: "All British Lion cage eggs come from hens that are kept in higher-welfare enriched colony cages, so if you specify British Lion eggs and egg products, you can be sure your products are legal."

New EU rules on eggs to ban battery cages >>New EU rules on hen cages lead to egg crisis for UK caterers >>EU rules trigger egg shortage that puts Leon under pressure >>

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