The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) has called for the next UK government to ban egg imports from systems of production that are prohibited in the UK.

The council called for the government to recognise the higher costs of production due to legislation on food safety, animal welfare and the environment in future trade deals, and to provide appropriate protection against lower standard egg imports.

The BEIC owns the Lion Quality trademark and runs the Lion Quality Scheme for egg production, which accounts for approximately 95% of UK production.

In its manifesto ahead of the General Election on July 4, the BEIC also called for stronger collaboration between government and industry to develop evidence-based solutions for environmental issues.

It also wants continued inclusion of the British egg industry in future grant funding, such as manure stores.

British egg industry

BEIC chief executive, Gary Ford, said the British egg industry is one of British farming’s great success stories, providing consumers with a ‘super food’ at an affordable price.

“Following a number of challenging years for the industry, managing increased supply chain costs and the impact of avian influenza, as well as the rising threat of imports, it is absolutely essential that the next UK government puts the conditions in place to ensure the industry is able to operate sustainably for years to come,” he said.

On workforce, the BEIC said key workers for the laying hen sector must be placed on the skilled worker visa: immigration salary list and called for a removal of the government cap on worker numbers.

When it comes to biosecurity, the council said the government must ensure that there are sufficient resources available through the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) to help deal with future notifiable avian disease outbreaks and to bring compensation in line with other livestock species.

The government must meet the needs of the UK production base whilst protecting the environment through reform of the planning system, to enable the sector to grow and meet consumer demand, the BEIC said.

On public procurement, the council said the government must promote British ingredients within food products, and across the public sector, through procurement in schools, hospitals and many other public institutions.