Avian flu in the UK: eggs from free-range hens are temporarily reclassified as free-range eggs
Government vets have decided that in light of the continued threat posed by this season’s bird flu, the hens should be kept indoors for a further period. There have been over 80 cases in England and over 100 in the UK in the current outbreak.
Mark Williams, British Egg Industry Council Chief Executive, supported the government’s decision: “Free-range farmers love to see their hens enjoying the outdoors and exploring the range. However, we need to make sure it’s safe before they venture outside and hopefully it won’t be long before they can do so again.
Packing and branding like chicken coop eggs
There will be some changes to the packs sold in stores. Producers will continue to use free-range packages, but each will be labeled “Barn Eggs.” Additionally, each egg will be marked with the number 2 to signify that it is a coop egg, eg 2UK54321, which is explained on each package.
Retailers will contact their customers to explain the changes.
Consumer support for free-range farming
Williams added: “We have undertaken research which has shown that customers want to support free-range hens and free-range farmers. Temporarily marking free-range eggs and packaging as free-range eggs is not only the most convenient solution, but also means consumers can continue to purchase free-range eggs. , even temporarily housed, while farmers can also ensure that the hens are safe. ”
Suffolk-based free-range producer Daniel Brown said his birds have been doing well over the past 16 weeks: ‘We’ve given them extra things in the shed like hay and gravel to give them things to peck and amuse them. .”
the National Farmers Union said the housing measures were under constant review and would be listed once the level of bird flu risk had diminished.