The egg shelves in British supermarkets showed empty spots in recent weeks because supermarkets do not want to pay the price increase for laying hen owners. British laying hen owner Ioan Humphreys explains it in a video he shared on social media.
Egg shortages in British supermarkets are expected to continue until after Christmas, the industry association warns. This is caused because the poultry sector is struggling with rising costs and the worst bird flu ever.
At Lidl, consumers are allowed to bring a maximum of three egg boxes per customer, while Asda limits purchases to two egg boxes per customer. Tesco is also considering rationing eggs, after the bird flu caused shortages on the shelves of some supermarkets, reports the British daily The Guardian. Other supermarkets buy eggs abroad, including Italy. Laying hen owner Ioan Humphreys explains in the video how it really works.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association recently announced that culling bird flu had killed 750,000 laying hens since October 1 alone, compared to 1.8 million in the entire previous year.
Compensation scheme for UK poultry farmers
Defra, the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a package of support measures last week to help poultry farmers facing the worst outbreak of bird flu in the United Kingdom (UK). In the past year alone, there were more than 200 cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
According to the new plans, the existing compensation scheme for avian influenza will be changed so that support to farmers can be paid from the beginning of the planned culling instead of at the end. This helps to counteract any cash flow pressure and to provide certainty about the right to compensation earlier. The payments better reflect the impact of outbreaks on poultry farmers.
Easing of the marketing rules
In consultation with the Food Standards Agency, a relaxation of marketing rules is also being implemented in England. Farmers raising turkeys, geese or ducks for their meat will have the opportunity to slaughter their flocks early and freeze products, which can then be thawed and sold to consumers between November 28 and December 31. The measure is thus aimed in particular at the British turkey industry, which produces 11 million birds every year and of which two thirds are consumed during the Christmas period.