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No free-range eggs in the supermarkets



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Shoppers looking to buy free-range eggs at the supermarket on Monday will search in vain.

Bird flu has meant that the Government has ordered all birds inside for the moment, meaning eggs will have to be labelled 'Barn' rather than 'free-range'.

There have been more than 80 reported outbreaks of bird flu since November. Premises affected included Pensthorpe nature reserve near Fakenham at one point.

Birds reared for meat and eggs have been ordered by the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) to be kept indoors since November to reduce the risk of outbreaks. As they have now been kept indoors for more than 16 weeks, their eggs can now no longer be labelled free-range.

Keepers must now take a number of precautions to prevent further spread of bird flu, says Defra (55551972)
Keepers must now take a number of precautions to prevent further spread of bird flu, says Defra (55551972)

Farmers had hoped Defra would lift the housing order next week, but after new avian flu outbreaks in the past week, officials have decide to keep the order in place.

A Defra spokesperson was reported as saying: “The 16-week grace period we allowed for free-range eggs has now been exceeded, and eggs must now be marketed as ‘barn eggs’. We have worked closely with the sector and retailers to implement these changes as smoothly as possible.”



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