Independent egg packers could be picking up the bill for installing in-line inkjet printing stations by the end of the year, when the government is due to legislate for new European egg labelling and marking regulations. Under the new rules, all eggs must carry an indication of the farming method used in production and of country of origin, while member states may also choose to mark the shelf life. Suitable printing units start at around £2,000, depending on the packing line's throughput. A stipulation by the European Commission that eggs should be marked on the farm was dropped after lobbying by British packers. They argued that in the UK the eggs would then have to be marked more than once, which would lead to confused overprinting. The scheme was devised by producers from continental Europe, with strong support from France, and will have the effect of slowing the arrival of third country eggs into Europe. All eggs sold, whether for the shell egg trade or to processors for cracking, will come under the regulations. The introduction of the Lion quality mark required many UK secondary packers to invest in packing line printing units where these were not already installed. British producers already face a shorter five-year derogation for the printing units than the 12 years offered in the commission's proposals. {{PROVISIONS }}