MEP’s action call to keep illegal eggs out of Britain
With less than a month to go until the EU's ban on battery cage eggs comes into force, Euro MP and Norfolk farmer Stuart Agnew has highlighted progress in his campaign.
His 'Good Eggs UK' Campaign wants the egg trade to pass the 'three Cs' test: 'No cages, no cruelty, no crime.'
As agricultural spokesman in the European Parliament, the UKIP MEP started a campaign to keep illegal eggs out of the UK in October.
He wants supermarkets, bakers and cake makers, caterers and egg processors to ensure that their suppliers provide only legally produced eggs after January 1.
'I am asking the UK egg trade to make sure it passes the 'three Cs test': No cages, no cruelty, no crime,' he said.
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Mr Agnew has written to 22 high street supermarkets, 84 bakers and cake makers, 40 caterers and 37 egg processors across the UK to remind them of the ban and to encourage them to check on their suppliers. 'It is quite apparent that the commission is powerless to enforce its own rules and our own government are yet to propose credible measures.
'It is therefore essential to mount a campaign that makes the whole egg trade aware of its legal responsibilities.
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'I am calling on British supermarkets and food producers to only use eggs from sources that ensure good hen welfare because trading in battery cage eggs is akin to trading in stolen goods or marijuana.
'Avoiding these illegal eggs will be good for their customers, good for British farmers and good for the hens themselves'.
He has also enlisted the help of more than 500 members of the public, who have written to him about the battery cage ban.
They have all been provided with the addresses of the companies to whom Mr Agnew has written and encouraged to write their own emails or letters. Many have taken up the challenge.
British egg producers have invested more than �400m ahead of the ban, but many other EU countries have ignored the issue. Several, including Greece, Italy, Spain, Latvia and Hungary are refusing to provide the commission with any information about their efforts to prepare for the ban.
There are potentially over 80 million illegal eggs likely to be produced in the EU every day, from January 1, and they will be seeking a market, almost certainly using misleading labelling. UK producers need to be protected from such unfair competition.
Mr Agnew, said: 'I am very pleased with the feedback to the Good Eggs UK campaign, not only from the public, but from the organisations I have written to myself.
'They have generally been quite positive and clearly recognise that there is a real problem.
'However, there have also been worrying silences from some major commercial organisations, emphasising the need to keep up the pressure.'