EPIC president Aled Griffiths has called on DEFRA to ensure that no imported conventional cage eggs are on sale in the UK after the date in 2012 when this system becomes illegal in the UK.

“With the current banking crisis making it difficult for producers to obtain credit, I believe it won’t be possible for the entire EU egg sector to convert in time. There will be an estimated 150m layers (58%) still in conventional cages in 2012.

“So with this in mind, it is important to know that there will be a new number four classification in the egg stamp to differentiate enriched colony eggs from those produced in conventional cages,” he said. Unlike conventional cages, these systems offer nest boxes, perches, scratching areas and more space.

Current egg stamping codes identify the production system the egg was produced under with numbers 0, 1, 2 and 3 representing organic, free range, barn and cage, respectively.

“After the ban, we don’t want any number three [conventional cage] eggs coming into this country and we want only number four [enriched colony]. So we call on DEFRA to ensure that this is the case.”