Retailers have hit back at Efra recommendations to impose burdensome traceability tests when the 2012 battery cage ban comes into force in January.

The House of Commons select committee this week published a new paper, dubbed 'The Welfare of Laying Hens Directive Implications for the egg industry'.

In the report, the Select Committee urged Defra to look into gaining voluntary undertakings from retailers and food manufacturers to introduce "stringent traceability tests to ensure they are not responsible for bringing products containing non-compliant egg products into the UK".

However, the BRC's food director, Andrew Opie, blasted Efra's proposal, claiming it was "unnecessary to create a new, bureaucratic system", adding that good food businesses should be doing it anyway.

Efra also proposed, in ­effect, a naming and shaming process: "We recommend that Defra publish a list of those retailers and food manufacturers that have signed up to the ­voluntary approach."

The report was commissioned following concerns some EU member states would not implement the cage ban in time, and that cage-produced eggs would continue to be imported to the UK.

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