Farmer co-op Eggsell has launched a new insurance service, allowing egg producers to protect their businesses from the fallout of avian flu and salmonella being found in their flocks.

Next January sees changes to the salmonella rules which could have financial consequences for egg businesses. Where routine testing finds the presence of either Salmonella enteritidis or typhimurium, eggs cannot go for human consumption unless they have been heat-treated to guarantee the elimination of the strains of salmonella that pose the greatest threat to humans.

The financial impact of this restriction of the sale of fresh shell eggs from infected flocks is a cause for great concern to the co-op, especially for new producers. So this prompted the co-op to launch what it believes to be the first industry-wide policy against loss of income from salmonella and avian flu.

Policies are priced from 5.5p/bird for salmonella and 4.5p/bird for avian flu and are underwritten within the Lloyds insurance market. It covers loss of income for up to 52 weeks coupled with a percentage of DEFRA testing costs up to an aggregate limit per farm.

EggSell founder Stewart Elliott is delighted to be able to offer the policy, not only to the members of its co-operative, but to all egg producers.

“We’ve invested a lot of time researching the market and trying to find a policy that benefits the egg industry as a whole and we’re extremely pleased that leading farm insurance brokers Thompson and Richardson shared our vision and helped us to realise our goal of delivering a comprehensive policy for less than the cost of an egg per bird.”