PositionEuropean Union. European Commission

The European Commission is scheduled to adopt, on 8 January, its report on the breeding system for egg-laying hens and the implementation of new standards for animal welfare. The compliance cost of the oldest establishments by 2012 will be, according to the Commission, compensated for through the progression of the standard producer margins.

"Due to the limited storage time of shelled eggs, imports from non-EU countries principally concern processed eggs (liquids or powders), products for which a lack of competitiveness must be admitted" in the EU, note the Commission's services in their report. Given the very positive impact of the ban on non-enriched cage systems in the Community, whose generalisation will take effect from 1 January 2012, particularly in terms of animal health, "high standards [...] must be encouraged and considered as a competitive and commercial advantage on a European level," says the report. The Commission warns against "any postponement of the ban on non-enriched cage systems". Such a postponement would cause, it stresses, the distortion of competition and penalise producers who have already invested in alternative systems or enriched cages, which are gauges of scientific and technological development.

In the coming months, the Commission wants to put the emphasis on information campaigns for consumers on the production methods...

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