> British Egg Imports Not Up to Scratch - The Food Safety Company British Egg Imports Not Up to Scratch - The Food Safety Company
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    Wednesday, 1 March 2017

    British Egg Imports Not Up to Scratch


    Imported eggs have become a real problem in the UK. Hundreds of tonnes of eggs are brought in each year from other countries – India, Albania, Thailand and Brazil. These countries routinely export dried and liquid eggs to Britain and other EU countries to be used in mass food production and catering. Some of the farms in these countries use battery cages for the production of eggs, a banned practice via EU regulation.

    Img: Humane Society
    Battery cages are a system of interlinked, small cages used to house laying hens. These cages were banned in January 2012 in the EU in order to improve the welfare and living conditions of hens. Farmers could still use cages following the ban, but were required to provide enriched cages that included nesting and scratching areas. Before humane housing was required, battery cages saw several hens jointly inhabiting spaces with fewer square inches than a sheet of A4 paper. Once this housing system was banned, the sale of eggs produced by inhumanely housed hens was supposed to be stamped out in the UK and EU. Despite the ban, some farms continue to illegally use these brutal lodgings.

    A welfare group has released evidence of hens in battery cages in India where eight birds inhabit the spatial equivalent of two sheets of A4 paper. This type of housing is extremely cruel as it forces animals to exist in a world devoid of movement, light or freedom; they experience naught but the smallest shadow of a life and are driven to madness. Even still, egg shipments from India reach UK soil every month. From September to November nearly 60 tonnes of dried egg powder was imported from Hyderabad and Delhi.

    In response to imports stemming from hens in battery cages, officials, farmers and campaigners have drawn attention to unenforced welfare standards in countries that persist in using inhumane housing systems. People in Britain are asking for the origins of eggs to be specified in all products containing eggs, currently a rule that applies only to boxed eggs.

    Dr Toni Shephard, executive director of Animal Equality UK, commented on the issue: “While all UK supermarkets have committed to ending the sale of shell eggs from caged hens by 2025, most will continue to sell products such as cakes, biscuits and puddings containing eggs from caged hens without alerting consumers. This is clearly unacceptable. Keeping hens on industrial egg farms – whether battery cages in India or the so-called enriched cages in Europe – causes untold and unnecessary suffering.”

    The farms that these imports originate from are not held to the same standard as UK farmers. At its core, aside from the issue of animal cruelty, it is unfair to farmers who follow the rules and regulations to be undercut by imports. British producers have warned that receiving and using these imports can pose a danger to the public as three recent cases of salmonella poisoning are linked to pasteurised egg from outside Britain.

    Ian jones of British Lion Egg Processors condemns the importation: “The continued import of egg products from countries where hens are still housed in systems of production that have been illegal in the UK for a number of years, and where food safety standards are lower, means those food manufacturers are not only misleading their consumers, they are creating a food safety risk.”


    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).
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    Item Reviewed: British Egg Imports Not Up to Scratch Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Food Safety Co
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