No more free-range eggs from Monday at UK supermarkets from Asda to Tesco

Shoppers will no longer be able to buy free-range eggs in supermarkets from Monday, according to latest reports. Ones available will have to be ‘barn eggs’, which were produced by hens homed permanently indoors

It is due to an outbreak of avian flu that was swept the region and country since November, meaning birds have not been able to be kept outdoors. Birds reared for meat and eggs were ordered to be kept indoors since last autumn in the face of the outbreak.

But as time ticks on, the length of time they have been kept indoors means their eggs can no longer be labeled as free-range, as highlighted in Wales Online. It will affect all supermarkets including Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Lidl.

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Farmers were hopeful the government would lift the housing order this month, but after new avian flu outbreaks in the past week, officials have decide to keep the order in place. The UK has not been alone in being affected by avian flu outbreaks this year, with continental Europe suffering one its worst winters for the disease too.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “The 16-week grace period we allowed for free-range eggs has now been exceeded, and eggs must now be marketed as ‘barn eggs’. We have worked closely with the sector and retailers to implement these changes as smoothly as possible. “



Avian flu has affected the UK in the past year

The British Retail Consortium said that supermarkets would be providing signage to explain the change to consumers, but that “when the current measures are lifted, eggs will go back to being free-range”.

The National Farmers’ Union’s chief poultry adviser, Aimee Mahony, said: “Shoppers may notice different labels on egg packs explaining that the eggs have been laid by hens temporarily housed to protect their health and welfare. Once the risk levels have reduced and the housing measures have been lifted by Defra, birds will be able to go outside again. “

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