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Article England and Scotland: Proposed Amendment to Egg Labeling Laws Designed to Cut Red Tape

The British government announced on January 9, 2024, that it was undertaking a public consultation on whether the Egg Marketing Standards Regulations should be amended. The government has requested comments to determine if it should remove a requirement that farmers change the label on their eggs from “Free Range” to “Barn” when chickens are kept under mandatory housing measures to protect human or animal health.

Global outbreaks of highly pathenogenic avian influenza ((HPAI) H5N1) have resulted in an unprecedented number of cases, with over 360 cases reported in Great Britain since late October 2021. These outbreaks result in the adoption of mandatory housing measures which, since October 2021, have exceeded the 16-week derogation period on multiple occasions, resulting in significant costs for the egg industry due to the requirements to change egg packaging to remove the term “Free Range” to comply with the regulations.

Annex II of the regulations sets out the requirements that must be met for the eggs to be labeled “Free Range.” The regulations provide that hens must have continuous daytime access to open-air runs, but that this time may be restricted for a limited time in the mornings if required to care for the hens. The regulations provide farmers with a 16-week period that they may continue to use the “Free Range” label when hens are required to be kept indoors and their access to open-air runs is limited due to measures adopted to protect public or animal health. If enacted, the proposed measures would remove this 16-week period and enable farmers to continue to use the “Free Range” label, even if mandatory housing measures remain in place beyond this time. This closely follows a similar amendment to the regulations in the European Union, enabling “the English and Scottish egg sector to maintain a level trading position with both the EU and [Northern Ireland].”

The aim of this amendment is to “simplify the regulation on the labelling of free-range eggs, enabling free-range eggs to be marketed as such for the duration of any mandatory housing measures in England and Scotland.” The intention is to reduce bureaucracy and costs, enable British free-range egg farmers to remain competitive, strengthen supply chains, and help “deliver the Government’s commitment to continue to produce at least 60% of the food we eat in the UK.”

Clare Feikert-Ahalt, Law Library of Congress
May 3, 2024

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Chicago citation style:

Feikert-Ahalt, Clare. England and Scotland: Proposed Amendment to Egg Labeling Laws Designed to Cut Red Tape. 2024. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-02/england-and-scotland-proposed-amendment-to-egg-labeling-laws-designed-to-cut-red-tape/.

APA citation style:

Feikert-Ahalt, C. (2024) England and Scotland: Proposed Amendment to Egg Labeling Laws Designed to Cut Red Tape. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-02/england-and-scotland-proposed-amendment-to-egg-labeling-laws-designed-to-cut-red-tape/.

MLA citation style:

Feikert-Ahalt, Clare. England and Scotland: Proposed Amendment to Egg Labeling Laws Designed to Cut Red Tape. 2024. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-02/england-and-scotland-proposed-amendment-to-egg-labeling-laws-designed-to-cut-red-tape/>.