The London 2012 Olympic Games has backed the government’s ban on the production of battery eggs in the UK after Lord Sebastian Coe confirmed that all caterers for the event will use only British Lion free-range egg products.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) had already stipulated that all shell eggs used during the games would be Lion-marked. But before Lord Coe’s announcement, the sourcing requirements for other egg products was unclear.
The news follows pressure from British Lion Eggs and The National Farmers Union.
“Detailed briefings from industry representatives have highlighted the continued production of illegal battery cage eggs in some parts of the EU,” an LOCOG statement revealed.
“Lord Sebastian Coe has now confirmed that all of our caterers are required to use only British Lion Free Range eggs if in shell, and they have confirmed that they will do so.
“With regards to other egg products, we will be reiterating our expectation of our caterers to source all other egg products from eggs produced in legal systems only. We are confident that, as our caterers are required to use British products where possible, this will help in our fulfilment of our expectation.”
Peter Kendall, NFU president, said:“Following a long period of the industry working together, it’s good to see LOCOG confirm that the criteria of the ground-breaking food vision will be extended to egg products. This will enhance both the customer experience of the Games and the prospect of a sustainable foodservice legacy followingit.”
Meanwhile, spreads and sauces manufacturer Jigsaw also confirmed that it would now use free-range products across its entire range.
The firm stressed the importance of complying with the latest EU regulations and described it as “a critical time for the egg market”.
Jigsaw also said it had never been more important to ensure that eggs and egg products used by UK firms were legally compliant and produced to the highest standards of food safety.
Christine Moir, commercial director of Jigsaw, said: “We are dedicated to producing the highest quality products for our customers and that process starts with quality sourcing. Specifying British Lion guarantees quality egg products that are compliant with the battery cages ban and the decision fits perfectly with our company ethos.”
Ian Jones, vice chairman of British Lion Egg Processors, welcomed Jigsaw’s announcement, but he expressed concern that illegally produced eggs were still present in the UK market.
He said:“I am delighted that another major UK food manufacturer is now sourcing Lion egg products, and I expect more to follow.
“Despite the battery cage ban coming into force on January 1, eggs are still being produced in considerable numbers from hens housed in illegal cages. There is a degree of uncertainty in the industry about where these non-compliant egg products are ending up.”
Food Manufacture.co.uk reported in January that 99% of all UK producers were now compliant with the legislation banning the use of battery cages, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
DEFRA told FoodManufacture.co.uk that just 1% of UK egg producers were still using the illegal cages despite the EU ban, which came into force on January 1.