18 August 2018 | Online since 2003

27 February 2017

AI UPDATE 23rd February 2017

Dear Free Ranger

The situation with regard to Defra HPAI policy, retailer commitments and egg pack labelling remains fluid but there is some light beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel for members in the English HRAs.

Prices for members in the (proposed) English HRAs

The HRA member survey and trade media campaign announced in our AI update of 21 February produced a flurry of feedback from retailers, packers and other industry organisations which has helped clarify the retail environment for eggs post 28 February. All the major retailers have provided BFREPA with verbal assurances that they will maintain their current contractual obligations ‘for the time being’. Most of them will not make a public commitment or statement, nor will they provide a time period for these assurances, and so we are asking for a commitment until the end of proposed AIPZ on 30 April.
Retailers believe that packers are keeping producers informed of these assurances. However, the initial results from the BFREPA HRA survey show that NONE of responding members have been told what price they will receive for their eggs from 1 March. If you are one of them, please confirm with your packer. We have asked retailers to ensure that these assurances are fed through to producers and they have asked us to let them know if this is not happening.

Labelling from 1 March

BEIC has come up with a labelling solution which will maintain consistency of labelling across all flocks, whether housed or not. It has announced that all Lion free range eggs will be labelled as being housed until the end of April:
“BEIC members therefore plan to label all free range eggs, indicating that the hens are currently being kept inside, to ensure both that individual producers are not penalised if veterinary advice is for their hens to remain inside to ensure their health, and that consumers are not confused by what they could perceive to be inconsistent labelling.
From 1st March until 30th April 2017, all BEIC members’ free range packs will have stickers on saying that the eggs have been laid by hens currently kept in barns”.
This solution is to be applauded although it will undoubtedly raise some legal and compliance questions in the coming days and weeks. Members out of the HRAs who wish to let their flocks range may have some concerns about this labelling approach, but they should be aware that this is a compromise that can keep the sector united during this very difficult time.

BFREPA label & information
Members who market their own eggs who are in HRAs can download high resolution artwork to use with their own print suppliers or place orders for a BFREPA label and accompanying information leaflet by logging into the Members area of www.bfrepa.co.uk and clicking on “Information & Forms” on the Dashboard. Or log in and paste this link:

Please note that BFREPA has produced the label & leaflet in good faith, based on guidance issued by Defra, but does not accept any liability whatsoever for its use. Members should consult their local Egg Marketing Inspector or Trading Standards Officer as to whether they are acceptable.
In terms of egg stamping, BFREPA have been informed by APHA Egg Marketing that if a producer/packer has stamping equipment that can be changed to ‘2’ then eggs will be required to be so stamped.

Scottish hens out on 28 February
A new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will come into effect in Scotland on 28 February meaning members can let their birds out provided that they have enhanced biosecurity measures in place.
• For the legal text, go to http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00514386.pdf
• For FAQs about the new zone (including guidance on enhanced biosecurity measures), go to http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/Diseases/disease/avian/faq/PrevZoneFAQ
• For the checklist to use to confirm compliance, go to http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00514388.pdf

The Chief Veterinary Officer is expected to confirm the AIPZ arrangements in England, including HRAs, in the next day or so. Once that happens, BFREPA veterinary guidance and a self-assessment form, will be sent to all members.

Kind regards
Robert Gooch, CEO
British Free Range Egg Producers Association
Tel 07771 887311


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