sainsburys free range egg notice

Egg producers across the UK face a day of reckoning on 28 February, when more than 500 will lose the right to market their products as free-range.

These producers haven’t done anything wrong - they are merely victims of housing restrictions imposed by Defra on 6 December to counter the spread of avian flu. But under EU rules, birds kept inside for more than 12 weeks lose their prized free-range status.

It’s a troubling scenario, with the British Free Range Egg Producers Association warning a quarter of its members are potentially “looking down the barrel” of big financial losses when their products are downgraded to barn eggs.

Concerns have also been raised over the negative impact a downgrading could have on consumer confidence.

But the big supermarkets, to their credit, appear to have been switched on these threats. They’ve kept shoppers informed of the situation with in-store notices, while many have also pledged to work with their suppliers to avoid those potentially calamitous losses.

With eggs sales booming, here’s hoping a crisis will be averted in the sector.