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Egg scare

by 5m Editor
17 November 2006, at 10:22am

UK - The egg industry was reeling this morning from a wave of unwanted publicity about alleged fraud in the labelling of eggs and the presence of salmonella in imported eggs. A number of national papers ran front page stories on one or a combination of these stories.

It emerged on Wednesday (Nov 15) that Defra and the police are investigating a Worcestershire egg supplier alleged to have been passing non-free range eggs off as free range. At least one report claims that eggs were being imported and then passed off fraudulently as free range.

Three arrests were made last month in Bromsgrove on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. The company in question supplies major packers and retailers with eggs and Defra said the alleged fraud involved about 27 millions eggs, 1 per cent of the free range eggs sold each year.

The Department went public on the investigation on Wednesday, despite the fact that it is ongoing and may lead to prosecutions. It said it had taken the unusual step ‘in the public interest’ to inform the consumers, retailers and consumers about has been happening. It asked the industry and retailers to ‘satisfy themselves immediately’ that the practice is no longer happening and all eggs on shop shelves are properly labelled.

With the investigation certain to spread beyond the single supplier, the revelations present the egg industry with potentially its biggest crisis the Edwina Currie salmonella crisis of 1988.

Source: Farmers Gurdian

5m Editor