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BEIC welcomes House of Commons report

02/09/2011

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) has welcomed the Report of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee  into the implications of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive on the UK egg industry.  The report  echoed the BEIC’s  call for an intra-community ban on the export of non-complaint eggs and egg products, as well as penalties for those who continue to produce eggs from ‘battery’ cages, once the deadline for their continued use is reached on 1 January 2012.

The British egg industry has invested more than £400m in ensuring that the Directive will be implemented on time in the UK and producers in the UK are extremely concerned that no definitive plans on how to deal with the likely production of illegal eggs have been forthcoming from the European Commission.

Mark Williams, Chief Executive of the BEIC said: “The lack of action from the European Commission is staggering, as well as being potentially disastrous for the UK egg industry.  British producers have invested heavily to meet their legal obligations and the European Commission needs to act now to ensure that UK producers do not suffer at the hands of illegal eggs and egg products.  The Commission can no longer hide its head in the sand, immediate and decisive action is required now.

“We thank the EFRA Select Committee for its excellent report highlighting the plight of the industry and we hope that it will spur the Government and the European Commission into action. “

The BEIC believes it is clear that many producers in some other member states will not meet the deadline on time and estimates that around a quarter of EU egg production, or around 70 million eggs a day, will become illegal when the deadline for implementation passes.

Williams said: “Our Government has already stated that it stands ‘four square’ with those producers in this country who have made the investment...and that an effective intra-EU ban on the trade of eggs and egg products produced by hens which continue to be housed in conventional (‘battery’) cages after 1st January 2012 should be put in place, to prevent ‘illegal’ eggs and egg products entering the UK.  We want to see this support turned into action and reflected by the European Commission.”