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The Food Standards Agency have issued a recall on Dr Zaks barn farmed liquid egg white infected with salmonella. A product sourced in France, and another reminder of why retailers should look to British egg and British egg products. The UK’s salmonella record is second to none.
This recall and outbreaks reported in this Ranger both in the United States and Australia, should make us pause and reflect on the devastating effect an outbreak can have on an egg farm.
In some respects, and thankfully, not many of us will have had any experience in dealing with an outbreak, and for that reason we do not understand or can even comprehend the processes and regulations we have to follow to return to a disease free status.
The cruel hard facts are that there is over supply, not witnessed by many before, it may come as a shock to new producers experiencing a changing market for the first time. To make matters worse, it comes at a time that supermarket contracts are being negotiated. Some producers have already experienced a cut in prices and some on fixed deals are having to renegotiate.
As we discussed in the last Ranger, BFREPA would discourage any attempt by packers or retailers to alter the base price of producers feed trackers.
Blackdown Hills Westcountry Eggs entering receivership is a reminder of how quickly the tide turns and the serious repercussions for those producers who have to bear the consequences. This was a reasonable sized family business and its downturn is heart breaking for all those concerned. Whilst all their producers have found homes for their eggs on either long term or short-term contracts -ranging from 75 pence to 90 pence – most will not be close to the deal they were on at Blackdown Hills…..
There is a serious problem with over production, especially for smalls and mediums, which has yet to play out during the summer months. Granted we have a long hot summer but the problems seem more systemic than the usual seasonal fluctuations.
We need a solution to address the consumers appetite for large eggs. A hen does not just lay large eggs and for the welfare of the hen and the sustainability of the industry we must educate consumers accordingly.
Egg production in this country has changed beyond all recognition with welfare driving the changes. We want to ensure that consumer ignorance does not undermine welfare advances, in this case it seems consumer demand is not necessarily in line with a hens’ welfare…