The EFRA Committee has called on Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to announce what measures the UK Government will introduce to protect UK egg producers who have spent more than £400m to comply with the requirements of the Directive.
Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the Committee said “We are disappointed at the lack of progress.
“The EU Commission proposes that illegal eggs, that fail to comply with the improved animal welfare requirements set out in the Directive, can still be used by food and non-food manufacturers, either in the Member State of origin or elsewhere under bilateral agreements.
“It is a travesty that Member States, which have had 12 years to prepare, will be allowed to flout the EU’s first legislation designed to improve animal welfare.
“It is also unacceptable that UK consumers will not know whether processed foods, restaurant meals, fast food or even shampoo that they buy contain eggs that do not comply with the new animal welfare regulations for caged hens.
“I have written to the Secretary of State asking her to explain what action the UK and other Member States that comply with the Directive will be able to take to prevent their egg producers being undercut by illegally produced eggs from elsewhere in the EU.
“I have also written to the EU Commission demanding to know which Member States will not comply with the requirements of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive when it comes into force on 1 January 2012.”
The concerns of the Committee are set out in full in letters to Defra and the Commission published today on the Committee’s website. They echo many of the issues highlighted by the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) in a letter to the Committee also published today. The correspondence can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/eggs/
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has published the Government’s response to its Ninth Report of this Session (which was published on 2 September 2011 as HC 830) today, Friday 25 November 2011, at 9.30 am. The Government response is published as the Committee’s Eighth Special Report of Session 2010-12 (HC 1664).