Put country of origin on egg boxes, says NE

5 June 1998

Put country of origin on egg boxes, says NE

NORTH-EAST poultry farmers are calling for country-of-origin labelling on all egg boxes and chicken meat packaging in a bid to boost sales of British produce.

According to the NFU, egg producers are struggling to survive the continuing downturn in egg prices. The 23% slump in market returns this year is having a particularly severe impact on small-scale producers, the union says.

Mary Smith, joint chairwoman of the NFUs north-east poultry committee says: "Things are getting desperate for egg producers. All we are asking is that people do buy British produce. But they cant do that unless eggs and meat are correctly labelled with the country of origin.

"This will go a long way to help British producers. And right now they need all the help they can get. The cost of production on all eggs is 47p and we are getting 36p/dozen. It is a recipe for disaster."

As with all other sectors, poultry producers are also suffering from the strong £, with cheap imports flooding the market.

Andy Oatley, spokesman for the UK Egg Producers Association, said the country was a net exporter of eggs, due to overproduction. The strength of sterling not only cut returns for exported eggs but had also all but wiped out the 30-50p a bird producers used to be able to secure for end-of-lay hens.

"The flood of cheap imports of poultry meat has left some of our members having to pay to have their end-of-lay hens taken away," he said. The association felt the NFUs call for country of origin labelling was fully justified, Mr Oatley added. &#42

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