The Battery Hen Welfare Trust has called on the government to allow consumers to make an informed choice when buying food and at the same time to support the British egg industry by opting for enriched colony eggs.

In anticipation of the proposed EU directive banning conventional cages and the introduction of enriched colony systems in 2012, the Trust, in collaboration with Liberal Democrat South-West MP Colin Breed, has tabled two Early Day Motions (EDMs).

The EDMs call for clear labelling of the production method used on all products containing eggs or egg derivatives, widely used in processed foods. This would allow consumers to distinguish egg products from hens housed in the enriched colony system which offers improved hen welfare, from those produced from the conventional cage system which will continue to be used outside of the EU.

The EDMs will also help to support British producers who have invested in the enriched colony system and will help deter manufacturers from importing cheap conventional cage eggs from overseas.

Jane Howorth, chief executive of the Trust said: “The purpose of our campaign is to improve life for laying hens, wherever they happen to be caged. Processed food can contain eggs in all forms and many consumers are simply not aware that the egg products they are eating may come from caged battery hens in, for example India or China.

“It is important that British producers who are investing in the equipment to convert to the enriched cage system are supported by the government, the retailers and the public. Clear labelling will help the public to give British producers – and the humble laying hen – their backing.”