Free-range egg producers will begin to have their products labelled as ‘barn eggs’ from 1 February, following 16 weeks of compulsory housing measures to try and protect birds against avian influenza.
Although not all parts of the country have been housing their birds since October, all free-range flocks’ eggs will be relabelled at the same time “to assist the egg supply chain to continue to function effectively and prevent the potential for errors which could otherwise risk eggs being downgraded, as well as avoiding potential consumer confusion,” according to the British Egg Industry Council.
Over the next week, a temporary derogation to the Lion Code of Practice has come into effect to remove the requirement to mark eggs on farm with the Producer Establishment Number (PEN). This is to avoid free-range laying farms bearing the cost of having to purchase new print heads to print ‘2’ on the eggshell.
All eggs collected from farm and delivered to a Lion registered packing centre will now be marked at the packing centre with the free-range PEN.
Producers should continue to use existing pallet ID tickets until 1 February. From 1 February, producers should start to mark ‘barn egg’ on pallet IDs by simply writing ‘barn eggs’ onto existing tickets.
From 1 February 2023, ink-jet printers in Lion registered packing centres will be re-programmed to print the Barn PEN (2) on the eggshell.