The British egg industry have reacted angrily to the government’s refusal to add eggs and egg products to the list of foods protected by tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The no-deal tariff regime would be applied to beef, lamb, poultry and some dairy products.
Under the regime, some farming sectors will not have this protection – noticeably eggs, cereals, fruit and vegetables.
Despite the parliamentary vote that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal, legally that is still a possibility regardless of any extension to the 29th March being granted.
BEIC Chairman Andrew Joret, said the government is 'trampling over all the good work' the industry has done to raise animal welfare standards.
“In a few weeks’ time, consumers could be eating products made with eggs from hens housed in barren battery cages. This is not scaremongering but a real risk,” he said.
“This is extremely damaging for animal welfare and a serious breach of trust by a Government which seems to have lost its way on hen welfare.”
In an open letter to Defra Secretary Michael Gove, animal welfare groups, such as the RSPCA, and the BEIC have called on the government to reconsider its stance before it’s too late.
Mr Joret concluded: “We could see the country going to work on an egg from a barren battery cage, something we didn’t think we’d ever return to. The government should hang its head in shame.”
It follows industry warning that a 'no deal' Brexit risks putting 'billions' of battery eggs back on the shelves unless the government acts to protect consumers.
The industry fears this could potentially open the floodgates for the import of eggs produced in barren battery cages that were banned in the UK in 2012.