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'Barn egg' label misleading for Dutch consumers

Consumers in the Netherlands consider "barn eggs" to be the most misleading label on food packaging following a vote conducted by the Dutch animal welfare group Wakker Dier.

The group posted advertisements for a variety of food products, including fresh fish, pork, sausages and chicken noodles, on their website and allowed consumers to vote which they believed were most deceiving. Consumers said barn eggs were the most the most deceptive followed by food products aimed at children and fish from a discount retailer.

The Dutch term for barn eggs, scharrelei, describes a hen's ability to move about to forage or scratch, not the type of building where they are kept, but historically it has been used to describe barn eggs. "Many people in The Netherlands would think that when they are buying a scharrelei that would come from an outdoor hen, which is not true," Mr Geert Laugs, director of Compassion in World Farming Netherlands said.

Laying hens in the Dutch barn system are kept to a stocking density of nine birds per square metre with no access to the outdoors. Wakker Dier wants to see the Dutch government change regulations so the term schuurei, which more closely resembles the English term "barn egg", is used in the place of scharrelei.

Editor WorldPoultry

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