By Poultry World staff

EU Commissioner Dr Helmut Klemm came under fire from UK delegates on old hen prices and cages sizes at the Spring meeting of the International Egg Commission, held in London last month.

IEC director-general Mike Ring donned his other hat as chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council and asked him what Brussels was going to do about spent hen prices.

“The market is in a terrible state,” he said. “It started to slide when the Commission removed the export refunds from old hen meat,” he suggested. Dr Klemm replied there was no scope for providing extra poultrymeat refunds under the world trade agreement .

“We need more time to find the exact reasons for the problem,” he said. He linked the crisis to the harmonisation of EU veterinary legislation which had allowed in imports from third countries for the first time.

“You have now done everything you can to dispose of this meat,” he admitted. He could only promise to discuss the issue with the UK at the next management meeting.

Prospects of new cage sizes of 800cm2 per bird also had delegates on the warpath.

“Without proper protection from third-country imports, this is not on,” declared producer Aled Griffiths, former chairman of BEIC.

Mike Ring came to the defence of the processing sector, saying: “If egg breakers have to pay more for EU-produced eggs, that bit will become non-viable rather rapidly. There is a need to bring some sense into the Commissions thinking on this.”

Dr Klemm suggested that if the “preference” for EU-produced eggs could be maintained, the extra costs involved in larger cages could be recovered from the consumer.

  • For this and other stories, see Poultry World, 3-30 April, 1998

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