Egg producers in the EU will no longer lose their free-range status after 16 weeks in the event of a housing order.
The European Union has amended its marketing rules, with the changes published on 8 November. They came into effect on 28th November.
The amended rules, described in Regulation 2003/2465, Annex 2.1.a. state: “Where temporary restrictions have been imposed on the basis of Union legislation, eggs may be marketed as free-range notwithstanding that restriction.”
In the UK, the British Egg Industry is lobbying government to make the same change, with “UKEP” and “Laid in Britain” actively involved.
Currently, in the event of a housing order to protect birds against avian influenza, producers cannot sell eggs as free-range after 16 weeks.
At the Egg & Poultry Industry Conference (EPIC) in Newport in early November, farming minister Mark Spencer told delegates he was aware of the disparity and considering doing the same here. “We are working hard to find a solution and launch a consultation soon,” he said.