Bakers and manufacturers are being warned of possible egg shortages when new EU legislation takes effect.
From January 2012, it will be illegal in EU countries to produce eggs from traditional battery cages. Instead, producers must convert to new enriched cages, which have more space, perches, a scratching area and nest boxes.
While British producers are on target, there are serious concerns that other European countries might not meet the deadline.
A British Lion egg products spokesman said: “Some 100 million laying hens across Europe will still be in conventional cages when the legislation comes into force.” He said this meant some manufacturers would need to find new, compliant suppliers and there might be a time-lag, which could mean shortages.
Caged eggs still account for more than 75% of eggs used in processed products.
The change in legislation is likely to have the biggest impact in the egg products sector, where about one-third of eggs are imported.
Martin Turton, head of the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Group (BCCC), said: “UK food manufacturers are fully aware of their legal requirements around food production. They understand the importance of compliance and the need to put in place the appropriate measures to achieve this.”