The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and DEFRA have named Britain’s supermarkets, high street chains and food manufacturers pledging to purchase and use higher welfare eggs, as well as those yet to state their compliancy.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has confirmed Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are on the NFU’s Good Egg list, promising not to source any egg from conventional cages for their own brand products. Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Iceland and The Co-op have also joined the pledge.
Other supporters include Associated British Foods, manufacturers of Kingsmill; Premier Foods, parent company of Hovis; and United Biscuits, who make McVitie’s. High-street bakery chain Greggs and Starbucks have also been listed alongside hotel and restaurant company Whitbread, which owns Costa Coffee.
Charles Bourns, poultry board chairman for the NFU, said: “This list certainly makes for interesting reading and shows how many companies are backing British egg producers and higher welfare standards. We are extremely pleased that they have decided to support the industry to ensure it does not suffer at the hands of those producers in Europe that have had more than 12 years to meet new welfare standards but have failed.
“Sadly, some are yet to put their head above the parapet. Whether or not this is down to slow administration, difficulties in establishing traceability or even a refusal to commit to supporting the British egg industry, it is disappointing to say the least.”
There are still, however, 13 EU countries that have failed to comply with new welfare legislation for laying hens which came into force 1 January 2012, which British egg producers have invested £400m in.
The main concern of the NFU is the threat of egg products concealed within foods such as cakes and quiches. As a result, the British farming organisation and DEFRA have name and shamed companies who have yet to disclose information on whether they are using compliant eggs in their products.
Included on this list are Northern Foods, known for Fox’s biscuits and Goodfellas’ pizzas, as well as the Greencore Group.
The full list can be found on the NFU’s website: http://www.nfuonline.com/News/The--good-egg--list/