UK retailers turn to EU to help resolve egg shortage

UK retailers turn to EU to help resolve egg shortage
Photo: Erol Ahmed - Unsplash

Retailers in the United Kingdom have been forced to put limits on the sale of eggs due to one of the worst-ever outbreaks of avian flu. 

In comments made to EURACTIV, the British Egg Industry Council, has stated that the flu outbreak led to the compulsory culling of hundreds of thousands of hens. When added together with the soaring price of energy, many egg farmers “have had no choice but to cease production rather than face the risk of losing money for every egg they produce”. Whilst it is expected that the supply will return to normal once the cost pressures ease, the Council say they don’t know when this will be. 

The reduction in the supply of eggs has led retailers to introduce a maximum of three packs of eggs per customer. In addition, the lack of supply from within the UK has led some retailers to look to the EU to see if they can import supplies. However, this decision has led to anger from UK farmers who say the move is undercutting their businesses. 

In the past retailer Sainsbury’s has committed to only buying British eggs. But, given the circumstances, they have said that they are “temporarily sourcing” eggs from Italy in order to maintain availability. 

Whilst experts say that the current shortage is not likely to lead to a massive influx of imports from the EU, it is an “unprecedented” situation and is made worse by the fact that in the run-up to Christmas there is usually an increased demand for eggs. 

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