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EU Imposes Welfare Requirements on Imported Eggs


Duty-free status for imported eggs into the EU in terms of the recently concluded EU-Mercosur trade agreement will be conditional on complying with EU housing and welfare regulations.  This requirement resulted from campaigning by the Euro Group for Animals and was endorsed by the UK RSPCA.  According to John Clarke Director of International Affairs, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission, “there is a cooperation provision in the agreement on animal welfare with a very clear objective to improve the level of animal welfare particularly in the Mercosur countries to bring them up our world-leading standards.”


According to the European Egg Processors’ Association, compliance with E.U. requirements adds 15 percent to the cost of production of an egg.  Retaining tariffs on eggs from conventional cages would enable EU producers to compete with eggs from the Mercosur nations, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. 

A spokesperson representing Copa-Cogeca an organization representing European egg producers noted “a tariff on non-compliant eggs is central for us as currently animal welfare is not a universally accepted concept among trading partners”.  The British Egg Industry Council stated that the agreement was a step forward and the welfare requirement for eggs paralleled other animal-derived foods produced in the EU and imported into the UK.