UK FOOD retailers have been slammed for sneaking imported eggs into their manufactured products.

In recent years, consumers have enthusiastically embraced the British Lion standard for fresh shell eggs, and expect nothing less than the guarantees of food safety and high standards which that marque offers.

But if they believe that the supermarkets which stock fresh British Lion eggs also use the same quality of ingredients in their pre-prepared foods, they are mistaken.

Crucially, while 'Country Of Origin' is listed on the packaging of fresh eggs, as it is with fresh meat and milk, that information does not follow eggs used as ingredients, even on products where they are to the fore, like sandwiches, quiches and salads. Under that anonymity, British supermarkets continue to use a significant number of imported eggs, that do not meet the same safety standards, in pre-prepared foods.

In recent years there have been a number of food safety issues associated with egg products produced in Europe and further afield. In 2017, food safety authorities had to trace trace some 700,000 imported eggs with possible traces of Fipronil – an insecticide which shouldn’t be used around food-producing animals – that had found its way onto 180 Dutch farms.

At the time, the British Free Range Egg Producers Association described the incident as a 'wake up call' of the dangers of buying in processed egg as a bulk ingredient and called on retailers to change their sourcing policies.

A more recent survey of 3000 British shoppers on their attitudes towards the use of eggs by major retailers showed overwhelming support for the increased use of British egg ingredients and clear labelling, with two-thirds of shoppers disappointed to discover that the egg in certain food they buy was not British, and almost half of them willing to change where they buy their food if they discovered British eggs were not being used.

British Lion egg processors are now giving all UK consumers the opportunity to support their cause by signing a petition calling on retailers to ditch imported eggs and label foods made with egg more clearly (

British Egg Industry Council chairman, Andrew Joret, said: “British shoppers deserve to eat foods made with egg that meets the highest food safety standards. They also have the right to be told where the eggs in the food they buy come from, so they are free to make informed purchasing decisions.

“For retailers, it’s a win-win, the Lion food safety standards offer unparalleled peace of mind, and they are making customers happy," said Mr Joret.

“The petition is a perfect opportunity for consumers to stand up to the major retailers and show that they are not willing to accept lower standards when it comes to the use of egg in prepared foods – we strongly urge them, as well as all of our colleagues in the British farming industry, to sign and share it. Together we can show our support for British farming and stop British supermarkets using imported eggs in British produced food.”