Written contracts to become law for UK egg producers

The UK government has announced a series of measures to help UK egg producers.

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The U.K. government has committed to ending unfair practices in the egg supply chain, following a consultation on contractual relationships in the U.K. industry. Key to this will be the adoption of new regulations that will ensure written agreements between egg producers and buyers.

The announcement, one of various made by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) at the government’s 2024 Farm to Fork Summit, was welcomed by the National Farmers Union (NFU), which had been calling for a consultation since 2022.

NFU Poultry Board chair James Mottershead commented: “I’m pleased that Defra’s review of fairness in the egg supply chain is moving reward, with draft regulations for egg contracts set to be developed and a clear intention to work with the NFU and the wider egg sector on data availability and transparency – both of which we called for.

“We look forward to seeing similar progression in the broiler supply chain review to ensure a fair share of risk and reward for poultry meat growers”.

DEFRA detailed that it would introduce regulations to ensure that there will be written agreements between producers and buyers and that it would work with industry “at pace” to ensure that they deliver fairness to all parties.

Wider benefits

The event also saw numerous other measures announced for the egg and wider agriculture industry.

An Infrastructure Grant for Laying Hens was also announced, with over GBP20 million (US$25.6 million) of funding, as part of the government’s Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, a public-private initiative to support continual improvement in farm animal health and welfare. The Laying Hen Housing for Health and Welfare Grant will offer grants of between GBP5,000 and GBP500,000 to help laying hen and pullet farmers to improve the health, welfare, and productivity of their flocks.

DEFRA also announced that following consultation, it would remove the 16-week derogation period for the labelling of free-range eggs produced by hens that are under mandatory housing orders due to avian influenza.

This will mean that producers will no longer need to change how eggs are labelled during housing orders.

Applicable across livestock an Endemic Disease Scheme was also announced, with funding of over GBP72 million.

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