THE prospect of a fairer supply chain for both egg and poultry producers was presented to producers at this week’s Pig and Poultry Fair.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer told the industry that domestic food production was now a government priority.

See also: Kelly calls for ‘national voice’ for turkey producers 

“The prime minister has been clear that food security is critical to our national security, said Mr Spencer. 

“We must strengthen our domestic food production whilst maintaining high standards of animal welfare.”

The minister said that the government was about to draw up new rules on egg contracts. Defra’s website describes this as “draft regulations aimed at establishing clearer contractual frameworks within the sector, which will be tested with industry”.

‘Contractual unfairness’

“A year ago, the Government committed to delivering reviews to look at contractual unfairness in the supply chain. We’ve made real progress in this area.” 

“Having worked closely with you to understand the specifics of the big issues, and to make sure the new regulations will lead to fair outcomes, yesterday (Tues 14th) we published a summary of our consultations.”

The government received 40 direct responses to the consultation, with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) surveying and providing insights from 122 and 102 egg producers, respectively.

New regulations

“We will shortly start work with the industry to develop those draft regulations.”

“On broilers, we are shortly going to launch a review into the broiler sector as well,” he promised.

This week Defra also confirmed 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, saving farmers from costly labelling requirements,” a statement said.