ASDA NAMES AND SHAMES EGG IMPORTERS
ASDA today (Friday, 15 December 2006) launched a campaign backing British free range egg producers and calling on other UK supermarkets, whom it is dubbing the dirty dozen*, to not sell 'lower quality' imported eggs that do not carry the Lion mark.
All ASDA free range eggs are from the UK and clearly display the Lion mark for food safety and welfare standards. This guarantees all its free range hens have been vaccinated against salmonella - something that cannot be guaranteed on imported eggs.
ASDA has pledged that it won't sell any eggs sourced from abroad in either its own label range of eggs or branded range of eggs and has challenged its rivals to do the same. Currently only Waitrose, M&S and ASDA are in a position to make this clear commitment*.
Over the next three years all ASDA's free range eggs will be supplied by a group of dedicated farmers - similar to the group of dedicated dairy farmers who already supply all its milk.
The supermarket recently launched a range of eco-friendly free range eggs called Respectful, which come from hens reared from local chicks, fed on locally milled wheat. The eggs are produced in a low carbon way, all the sheds are powered by solar panels, wind turbines and bio-diesel, and are placed on special runners so that the sheds can be easily moved around the free range pastures.
Egg buyer Hannah Naseem said: "It's a clucking disgrace that the dirty dozen are prepared to turn their backs on British free range eggs and opt for 'cheep, cheap' imports. We're calling on them to follow our lead and commit to only buying British free range eggs instead of getting them from countries that don't carry the Lion mark of quality."
John Widdowson, Vice Chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association said: "We want to see all retailers supporting British free range egg producers. There needs to be a much closer relationship between farmers and retailers to ensure foreign free range eggs are no longer imported to the UK. There is no reason why British farmers can't supply all of the free range eggs consumers want to buy - but they need supermarkets to invest here in the UK, not abroad."
This follows the lead that ASDA set the industry when it released 500,000 laying hens from battery cages into open barns, dramatically changing the way in which it sources its own label, fresh eggs.