While more than 27 million free range and organic hens will be allowed outside again from May 2, the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) welcomed the news, but said egg producers were still at breaking point because of soaring costs of production.
BFREPA chief executive Robert Gooch said: “It’s really good news that shoppers will soon have free range eggs available on the shelves, and British farmers are extremely grateful to consumers for continuing to buy eggs from these flocks even though they have been re-classified as barn eggs.
“But while it’s a relief to my members, lifting the housing order does not solve the crisis facing the egg sector. It will not remove the huge hikes in energy, transport, feed and labour costs they are experiencing.”
Mr Gooch continued: “The picture is bleak – a recent survey of our members suggested 51% of free range and organic egg farmers were considering exiting the industry.
“Even a small number coming out of egg production would lead to egg shortages which we predict will come later this year.”