Last month, we outlined the proposals in those US states that had vowed to become cage-free.
Amongst them, was Massachusetts.
In 2016, the state legislature had voted that until 1st January, stocking density should be 1.5 sq. ft. (1,400 cm²) of floor space. This is more generous than the 9 birds/m² (1,111cm²/bird) in the UK regulations for alternative systems.
However, this provoked an outcry from the industry, claiming it would lead to almost complete cessation of egg production in the state.
As a result, with a vote of 156 to 1, the regulations have been changed to requiring 1 sq. ft. (929 cm²). This gives the birds less space than UK regulations.
Examination of the requirements of the other US states aiming to go cage-free, and where an actual space requirement is given, none seem to be as good as, or better than, UK figures.
That means, in effect, that should a trade deal with the US contemplate including cage-free, the eggs produced under the US system, do not equate with UK law, and so, cannot be imported.
The UK government have promised not to import food which does not conform to our optimum welfare rules, and so, should be held to honour this pledge.