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Agriculture: Eggs

House of Lords written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 24 November (WA 271-4), whether they have the power to suspend imports of eggs and egg products from those countries which will not be compliant with the European Union welfare of laying hens directive ban on battery cages by 1 January 2012; and whether they will seek the names of all non-compliant countries from the European Commission.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I refer you to the Written Ministerial Statement the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food made on 6 December which explains how Defra and the devolved Administrations will enforce the EU ban on the keeping of laying hens in conventional cages from 1 January 2012.

The Government have thoroughly investigated the possibility of taking unilateral action and bringing in a UK ban on all imports of egg and egg products which have been produced in conventional cages in other member states. However, given the very significant legal and financial implications of introducing such a ban, coupled with practical difficulties in enforcing it, it is not a realistic option.

We believe 13 of the 27 member states will be non-compliant, but the Commission has yet to publish the latest data.

All member states have now been asked by the Commission to submit a list of compliant and non-compliant producers which will aid enforcement.

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