The British Egg Information Service has warned egg buyers after reports of confusion when purchasing eggs or products from The Netherlands.

The BEIS says some buyers have been purchasing Dutch “scharrelei” under the mistaken belief they are from free-range farms. Scharrelei describes a hen’s ability to move about to forage or scratch, not the type of building where they are kept, but historically it has been used to describe barn eggs.

The term was voted as the “most misleading” name used in food packaging when consumers were polled by Dutch animal welfare charity Wakker Dier in late 2010. Currently the organisation is trying to have the term changed to ‘schuurei’ which more closely resembles the English term “barn egg”.

“We are very concerned that buyers get what they think they are paying for, so that they can avoid misleading their customers,” said Andrew Hewston, representing the British Egg Products Association.

“It is clear that there has been some confusion, hens in the barn system cannot go outside. Specifying British free-range egg products which conform to buyers’ and consumers’ expectations are widely available and will remove any possible confusion.”

The British Egg Products Association has also written to users of egg products to highlight the issue.


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