Members of European Parliament have released a joint letter calling on food companies to end the caged confinement of animals in their global supply chains.
The letter, which was circulated by international NGO Lever Foundation and Polish NGO Green REV Institute, was signed by MEPs from Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Denmark, Portugal and Austria. “We urge all globally-operating European food companies that have not yet done so to set a public timeline for ending the sale of caged eggs in their international supply chains,” reads the letter.
“The duty for food companies to behave responsibly toward animals and toward consumers does not end at the borders of the continent. For European food companies to use in their supply chains in Asia, the Middle East or elsewhere practices that are so cruel and unsafe as to be illegal in the E.U. – and practices that in many cases violate the companies’ own stated animal welfare policies – is an abdication of corporate social responsibility.”
The letter also lauded the growing number of European companies that have set timelines for ending the use of caged eggs worldwide, including retailers Metro, Aldi, Marks & Spencer and Lidl, restaurant brands Pret A Manger and Costa Coffee, packaged foods brands Unilever, Nestle and Danone, and food service providers Sodexo and Compass Group.
Battery caged egg production is banned in the EU, and the majority of eggs produced in Europe now come from cage-free or free-range systems. A 2019 report by the European Food Safety Authority found that the shift to cage-free has resulted in lower rates of salmonella poisoning in customers, a benefit noted by Members of Parliament in their letter. “Given the increased health risks of eggs from caged hens, inaction on this issue puts international customers at increased risk of illness and hospitalisation,” the letter adds.