DEFRA claims to have egg imports in its sights

The NFU has received reassurance from DEFRA that it is continuing to check for illegal eggs as the supply from continental sources increases in response to the weakening euro.

At the May national poultry board meeting, concerns were raised at reports of a recent influx of egg imports from Eastern Europe.

The NFU therefore contacted both DEFRA and AHVLA enforcement staff, asking them what checks were being carried out, where eggs were coming from and what they were doing to ensure non-compliant eggs were not sold as Class A.

In response, DEFRA has stated: “Checks are being conducted on a weekly basis at all primary importers in England and Wales by AHVLA inspectors. They continue to check batches of eggs at importers by using ultraviolet light analysis and by checking against member states’ compliant producer lists.

“Since the beginning of April, inspectors have been seeing enriched cage Class A eggs from Spain, Germany, Poland, France and the Netherlands. No Class A eggs from third countries have been seen.

“If any suspected non-compliant shell eggs are identified, AHVLA will contact the competent authority in the originating member state and ask for confirmation of the system of production. If the eggs are found to be from conventional cages, they will be prevented from being marketed as Class A eggs and would be disposed of accordingly, preferably as an animal by-product or sent for processing.

“The commission is reviewing non-compliant member states’ action plans on a monthly basis and continues to challenge each member state on how they are working to achieve full compliance.”

The NFU says it will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks.

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