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UK action on illegal eggs must be backed by Europe

December 6, 2011 5:15 PM

Battery hen cages are banned across the EU from January 1st 2012Liberal Democrat Euro MP Liz Lynne has welcomed the Coalition Government's pledge today that tough action will be taken to stop eggs from battery caged hens being sold in the UK.

As of 1st January 2012, eggs produced in battery cages will be illegal. It is estimated that up to 51 million eggs, or a nearly a quarter of all EU production, will not be compliant by that date.

UK producers have spent £400 million on meeting the new standards. Liz Lynne is keen to ensure that these farmers are not undercut by producers who have not upgraded their systems.

Last week the West Midlands MEP signed a cross-party European Parliament Written Declaration calling for action on the issue.

Liz Lynne said: "I welcome the commitment of the UK government to get tough on producers who fail to meet the new EU standards next year. There is a particular problem with liquid egg products whose origin is difficult to check.

"Farmers in the West Midlands have spent millions to comply with the law and it is vital that we protect their investment and stop them from being undercut by eggs or egg products produced illegally

"But tough action by the UK must be supported by the European Commission. Lib Dem MEPs are pressing Commissioner Dalli, who due to address MEPs next week, for tough sanctions against law-breakers to protect consumers and farmers who have taken care to comply with the regulations."

ENDS

Note to editors: The cross party declaration signed by Liz Lynne last week.

0046/2011 Written declaration on the marketing of eggs from hens housed in outlawed cages

The European Parliament,

- having regard to Council Directive 1999/74/EC, which introduced a ban on the use of battery cages for the rearing of laying hens,

- having regard to Commission Regulation 589/2008/EC on rules for the marketing standards for eggs,

- having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. is concerned that some Member States will not implement Directive 1999/74/EC by the required date, despite a phase-in period of 12 years,

B. is concerned that egg producers who have complied with Directive 1999/74/EC should not be penalisedthrough illegal competition, especially concerning imported eggs and egg products from third countries,

C. whereas European consumers will not accept the continuation of battery farming for eggs,

1. Calls on the Commission to launch swift and effective infringement proceedings with heavy and dissuasive fines if there is a lack of compliance with all elements of the Directive;

2. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to introduce an intra-Community trade ban on all eggs not in compliance with Directive 1999/74 as of 1 January 2012;

3. Calls on the Commission to increase the number of FVO inspection missions in 2012;

4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council and Commission.