EFRA has thrown its support behind the British egg industry by recommending a clampdown on illegal eggs and egg products from next year, a move which the NFU welcomes.
The EFRA select committee published its recommendations following its inquiry into the implications of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive for the egg industry.
It agrees with the position taken by the NFU - that the industry will be at a competitive disadvantage if non-compliant conventional cage producers in other member states are able to export shell eggs and egg products after January 1 2012, when enriched colony cages will be a statutory minimum across Europe.
The NFU has continually raised concerns that farmers in several member states will have failed to upgrade their cages in time and lobbied for an intra-community trade ban.
The EFRA Committee has criticised the European Commission’s complacency over the level of compliance with the directive and has supported calls for an intra-community trade ban on export of shell eggs and egg products from non-compliant egg producers.
NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said: “We are very pleased with the findings and recommendations from EFRA as it comes after a lot of hard lobbying work from the NFU.
“Ultimately, British egg farmers have spent around £400million on upgrading their farms to meet these new standards and there is a real threat that all this effort could be for nothing if they run the risk of being undercut by cheap imports from countries which are still producing eggs in lower welfare systems.”