The UK egg industry will tighten up on traceability, salmonella risk and quality of egg supply this month, after beefing up its code of practice. The controls will also address high-profile incidences of non-free-range eggs being passed off as free-range.

The British Egg Products Association’s (BEPA) Lion Code of Practice Scheme will feature robust auditing, increased salmonella testing as well as stronger measures to avoid cross-contamination in the feed chain.

The measures will only apply to UK-harvested eggs and the new measures extend further than European regulations, said Clive Frampton, chairman of BEPA: "The provenance of eggs is critical and this is a very strong quality assurance scheme to make sure that these things don’t hit."

Over 80% of respondents in a survey of 1,000 people commissioned by BEPA said they would not buy a product if they knew it did not contain British eggs. At present around one-third of eggs used in the UK are imported, equating to 1,000 tons a week; around half of those are used in bakery and related products.