Free-range eggs to return to supermarkets in May

Free-range eggs will be returning to UK supermarkets as birds will no longer needs to be kept indoors in protection of bird flu from 2 May.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that the original restrictions enacted in November 2021 to keep birds indoors to reduce the risk of avian flu will be scrapped.

Birds that are not within a 3km protection zone will be allowed to be kept outside, meaning soon eggs will revert their status from “barn eggs” to “free range” once again.

READ MORE: Free-range eggs unavailable in UK supermarkets

The news comes after all eggs in UK supermarket had to legally be labelled as “barn eggs” due to bird flu restrictions, with additional information for the customer explaining the circumstances.

As a result, free-range eggs are expected to remerge on shelves a few days after 2 May, though eggs laid before this date will still be labelled as barn eggs.

Currently, the risk of bird flu has been reduced from “high” to “medium” for premises with poor biosecurity.

However, DEFRA has said cleansing and disinfecting requirements for equipment, clothing and vehicles will remain in place for the next few weeks.

In a joint statement four chief veterinary officers said: “Whilst the lifting of the mandatory housing measures will be welcome news to bird keepers, scrupulous biosecurity remains the most critical form of defence to help keep your birds safe.”

“It is thanks to the hard work of all bird keepers and vets, who have played their part in keeping flocks safe this winter, that we are in a position to take this action.”

They added: “However, the recent cases of avian influenza show that it’s vital that bird keepers remain vigilant for signs of disease and maintain stringent standards of biosecurity.”

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