Eggs: £15,000 bill for packers

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Independent egg packers will have to pay about £15,000 for a viable in-line inkjet printing unit to comply with European labelling and marketing regulations which come into force at the at the end of the year. UK Egg Producers' spokesman David Spackman said: "The £2,000 inkjet unit is not a viable option, even for small packers. They would have to spend £15,000 or so." Producers with between 3,000 and 5,000 laying birds supplying small regional chains must comply with the cage directive as well as the marking regulations. They face having to strip out and refit the enriched cages recommended in the directive. This could take as many as four million birds out of a 29 million strong national laying flock. The impact on the multiple trade would be negligible, but a 14% tightening in total egg supplies would increase demand in a shrinking wholesale sector. The most vulnerable producers would be organic units, not all of which have full certification. {{PROVISIONS }}

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