A CALL has been made for consumers to continue supporting high-welfare egg production despite the UK’s ongoing poultry housing order.

From 1 February, British Lion Eggs – most of the UK’s supply – was classed as barn.

See also: Lion eggs become barn following end of East Anglia 16-week derogation

The British Egg Industry Council decided to move as one in labelling egg from housed hens as barn.

And RSPCA Assured, which has high market penetration in the UK’s retail egg sector, has sought to reassure shoppers that welfare standards remain high.

Kate Norman, the RSPCA’s laying hen welfare expert, said: “Thanks to clear labelling for eggs – such as ‘free-range’, ‘organic’, ‘barn’ and ‘caged’ – there is a good level of awareness in the UK about how laying hens have been cared for, so today’s news may understandably cause concerns about hen welfare.

Google searches

“We know that Google searches for ‘free-range’ increased by 809% from January to March last year, which was the last time eggs could no longer be labelled free-range due to bird flu restrictions.

“This highlights that this issue is clearly something consumers care about and are actively looking for more information on.

“We want to reassure the public that it is still possible to buy eggs from hens that have been well cared for. Whether free-range, organic or barn, RSPCA Assured eggs are always from farms inspected to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards.

“This means they are 100% cage-free and the hens are provided with raised perches and plenty of enrichment inside the barn to peck at, forage and express their natural behaviour.”