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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Due to Bird Flu, Free-range Eggs are no Longer Available in UK

Due to the length of time hens have been confined indoors following outbreaks of avian flu, free-range eggs are no longer available in the UK.

Due to the birds being kept indoors for more than 16 weeks, such eggs will be labeled as “barn eggs” in stores.

The country is dealing with its largest-ever avian influenza outbreak, and steps are in place to keep the virus from spreading further.

According to the RSPCA, almost 55 percent of the eggs produced in the UK are free-range.

It suggests they’re descended from birds who have unrestricted access to outside pastures throughout the day.

Supermarkets will display signs informing customers of the change.

The government’s guidance, according to Aimee Mahony, chief poultry adviser at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), is that there is “still a significant level of danger” of birds acquiring flu.

“This is a particularly trying period for all bird owners, and attention is essential,” she continued.

Farmers are taking “stringent biosecurity precautions” and altering hen houses to make the birds more comfortable, according to Ms Mahony.

In November of last year, the number of cases of the H5N1 type of bird flu began to rise. North Yorkshire was the first place where the virus, which is extremely infectious and can wipe out chicken flocks, was detected.

According to the NHS, it offers an extremely minimal danger to humans, despite the fact that it has infected numerous people throughout the world, resulting in a handful of fatalities.

It led in the government implementing an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, making it a legal necessity for all bird keepers in the UK to keep their birds indoors and follow rigorous biosecurity procedures, whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks, or just a few birds in a backyard flock.

Egg producers had a 16-week “grace period” to keep their free-range status under such limitations, but this ended on Monday.

The government will only relax the restrictions after the threats to birds have decreased, allowing hens to return to their natural environment.

Shops and supermarkets will “continue to support British farmers,” according to Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, assistant director of food at the British Retail Consortium.

The government stated in a statement that it will work with farmers and merchants to apply the new branding.

“We are facing our greatest ever epidemic of avian flu,” a spokeswoman said, adding that “housing measures remain in place to protect chickens and other animals from this very contagious and nasty disease.”

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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