Bird flu labelling will be required from 28th February and the Free Range Egg sector is bracing itself for a major headache. The outbreak of H5N8 avian flu across the continent lead to precautionary measures being taken by DEFRA which included a temporary housing order on free range flocks. Flocks that would have been free to roam outside were ordered to be kept indoors to reduce the risk of transmission.
Despite this measure, there have been a number of recorded outbreaks across the England and Wales. You can read more on the government website here.
Keeping the hens indoors is no problem apart from the legislative tape and regulations the EU has imposed across Europe. As of 28th February, the eggs laid by these hens can no longer be called free range as they have been housed for 12 weeks and in its bureaucratic paralysis, the EU has found itself unable to permit a waiver in these circumstances.
EU rules mean that any poultry products that are sold as Free Range must not be kept in barns or under cover for more than 12 weeks at a time. After this period, the products must be labels as barn reared and cannot be labelled as free range irrespective of the unique situation. Egg producers are understandably angered that they have had to take the burden of housing their flocks whilst still paying the burden of keeping the flocks’ free range facilities and now they face another fee for labelling their product which in turn will reduce its value.
It will not be possible for the entire industry and supply chain to change its labelling. Positive ID Labelling and Danro are trying to help where they can offering a new label that producers can apply to their egg boxes. The labels will be manufactured with the finalised agreed wording which is expected to be “Eggs laid by hens temporarily housed in barns for their welfare“. The labels will be 1-inch in diameter, printed cyan on white.
It is expected that egg producers will be allowed to continue labelling their eggs with current label stock including “free range” statements but are required to apply the additional labels too. Wherever the eggs are sold, additional signage will be required to explain that the free range eggs cannot be categorised whilst the bird flu precautions of temporarily housing flocks is in place.
To order the free range eggs bird flu labels, you can call us on 01332 864895 or fill in the form below or.
You can buy free range eggs bird flu labels now by clicking here