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EU member states face tough action over illegal eggs

A pledge to enforce a ban on battery hens across the European Union has been welcomed by South East MEP Catherine Bearder.

Cramped cages were supposed to be banned from this month, but the European Commission looked set to let some member states off the hook.

The decision had angered many UK egg producers who had already spent around £400m on larger cages for their birds.

However, Catherine has been given assurance the commission will now clampdown on EU countries which ignore welfare rules for laying hens.

She said: "It is great news the Commission refuses to postpone the legal deadline for a ban of battery cages for chickens and will hold to account non-compliant Member States.

"The Commission must also support those countries such as the UK which are using every means at their disposal to try and ban illegally produced eggs from entering their markets.

"UK egg producers who invested heavily in new enriched cages must not suffer from illegal competitors which can undercut their prices through animal cruelty."

The EU passed the law in 1999, but it is thought there are still 50 million battery hens across the EU producing eggs.

Supermarkets in the UK had agreed not to stock illegally produced eggs, but there were concerns over a loophole which would have seen powdered eggs in products such as cakes and biscuits slip under the radar.

Catherine added: "Until a full ban on illegal eggs and egg products is put in place, consumers can take care to only buy products labelled free range or organic with regard to their egg content."

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