BRITISH LION eggs have introduced a new standard for barn eggs higher than that used across Europe and around the world.

The British Egg Industry Council paved the way for the new barn standard under the British Lion Quality Code of Practice, after a period of consultation with its subscribers – and after working closely with both Compassion in World Farming and Tesco.

Many major retailers and some wholesalers have already committed to sell only ‘cage-free’ eggs after 2025, leading producers to seek clear guidance on the best type of barn system in which to invest. With the backing of welfarists, the BEIC's new standard should allow packers and producers to proceed with confidence.

BEIC chair Andrew Joret said: “We are delighted to have had such a constructive dialogue with CIWF which has allowed us to create a mutually-agreed standard for Lion barn eggs moving forward.

“The standards that we have agreed are much higher than those being used across Europe and around the world. This will give consumers and the industry reassurance that animal welfare is a top priority within the rigorous British Lion scheme which produces the safest eggs in the world.”

Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at CIWF, said: “We’ve worked closely with the BEIC and are fully supportive of this new barn standard. It significantly improves on weak legislation that otherwise permits the use of high stocking densities and highly intensive systems such as Combi systems. The new standard will not only deliver better welfare for hens but will help create a level playing field for those far-sighted producers converting out of cages before the 2025 deadline.”

She added: “The new barn standard is a huge step forward particularly for the value egg, and one that should not be undermined by lower welfare, lower quality imports that fail to meet these new minimum requirements.”