8 September 1995

Egg labelling move

MAFF is seeking a change in European Union law to allow producers and retailers the option of labelling battery eggs as "Eggs from caged hens".

To improve consumer information MAFF says it will urge the 14 other member states to adopt the phrase within the new European Egg Marketing Regulations. The labelling would not be compulsory.

Animal welfare group, Comp-assion in World Farming, describes the move as "a tremendous step forward for animal welfare and consumer choice". The group says that current labelling is potentially misleading with many battery eggs sold using terms like "Farm Fresh" or "Country Fresh". Such phrases could confuse shoppers into believing the eggs were free range, or from hens kept in high welfare conditions, says CIWF.

But, according to the UK Egg Producers Association, MAFF says that only Sweden and Denmark are likely to support the move when it is discussed in Brussels on Sept 19. That would provide only 17 votes of the 62 needed to approve the idea. &#42