Nearly one-third of leading nutritionists, vets and other industry experts believe the EU programme to reduce salmonella contamination in eggs and poultry flocks will jeopardise the competitiveness of European poultry producers.

A further 20% said that it would lead to the illegal use of antibiotics and 18% that it would result in unrealistic expectations for consumers.

These were the conclusions of an opinion poll conducted during Alltech’s recent poultry technical seminar, held at its European Bioscience Centre in Dunboyne, Co Meath, Ireland.

More than 60 delegates and speakers who attended Alltech’s poultry technical seminar took part in the poll.

Almost half of those surveyed estimated that feed prices would decrease significantly over the next year, 10% believed that they would stay the same, while 37% said that prices would increase further.

On the conventional cage ban, 27% believed that the ban would reduce egg quality, 18% said it would lead to increased mortality and 10% concluded that the ban would result in reduced laying performance.

Most were unconvinced that consumers were aware of the welfare improvement introduced by enriched cages rather than conventional systems.