As sure as eggs is eggs compliance will cost Britain dear

Thursday, October 6 2011

West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass says the British egg industry has been caged in by a new EU regulation which UK producers have obeyed but foreign EU competitors have ignored.

Almost a dozen European Union member states could continue producing eggs from battery hens despite an EU ban on their sale which is due to come into affect from January 1 2012.

During an appearance before the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, John Dalli, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, has made it clear that the Commission is abandoning the compliant British egg producers, by making no attempt to ban eggs from those who failed to comply.

The battery cage ban was originally agreed by the EU in 1999 but Commission figures for April 2011 revealed around 144 million laying hens were still being kept in battery cages.

Commenting on the situation this week, UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass said "The Commissioner must have scrambled brains. British egg producers have all complied and now will struggle to compete with foreign "illegal" eggs.

Mike Nattrass MEP said: “What is the point of complying with EU directives? British egg producers have invested 400 million to comply with this directive while other member states, who did nothing, will be allowed to carry on regardless. It means UK producers have improved the facilities at great cost, raising the cost of their product by about 15p per dozen, only to find they will be undercut and possibly bankrupted by cheap foreign eggs from "illegal" nasty little battery cages.

“The EU has created an unlevel playing field where UK egg producers will struggle to export or compete at home against foreign battery egg producers. This is completely unfair.

“It is clear the EU is not taking the issue of animal welfare seriously, that it does not honour its own promises and that the EU does not care about British businesses or others who "obey".

“Illegal cheap battery eggs will come into this country and this will put many of our egg producers out of business, because they did the right thing and complied with the EU directive. The EU is closing us down.

"I suggest that the UK Government stamp eggs from battery cages with the skull and cross bones or even better, just use a heavy stamp.