Free range egg producers are being required to provide additional information on the documentation that accompanies their eggs when they are collected from farm as part of new rules relating to potential future avian influenza outbreaks.
According to a letter to producers sent by APHA, the Animal and Plants Health Agency, producers must from 1 June, state when a flock was put into its free-range shed. This is because EU Egg Marketing Standards Regulations state that where housing orders are in place, eggs from free range systems are able to be marketed as free range for a maximum period of 16 weeks.
The 16-week period applies from the point at which a flock is placed into the free range shed. As such, it is necessary to know when such placing occurred. The APHA, in conjunction with industry, has set out how the new requirements can most practicably be met by adopting an approach that is workable for industry and enforceable by APHA.
It has been agreed that, with effect from 1 June 2018, producers/packers will voluntarily include the date of placing of the flock in that house on all of their transport documents.
The information is provided by the free range producer on a voluntary basis, however Defra will consider the need to amend legislation in the future in the light of compliance with this voluntary approach.