Britain is running out of eggs

Pub chain JD Wetherspoons said egg dishes have been eliminated or replaced with other foods in some branches. “We are struggling to get the necessary supplies to meet demand across all pubs,” a company spokesman said. The retailer Sainsbury’s also spoke of delivery problems, eggs were temporarily obtained from Italy, it was said recently.

Poultry prices have risen enormously. Farmers’ union NFU has called on the UK Environment Department to investigate supply chain issues. In addition, there are measures to contain bird flu: According to the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), more than 750,000 hens have been culled since the beginning of October alone to slow the spread.

British breakfast plate with a fried egg

IMAGO/Panther Media/Richard Šemík

The traditional English breakfast is difficult to do without eggs

New regulations

Poultry in England has had to stay in pens and aviaries since November 7th. According to the Environment Department, this is the UK’s largest outbreak to date, with more than 200 confirmed cases. Avian flu also hits turkeys – and with it a traditional Christmas meal for many Britons. Almost a third of the annual turkey production of eleven million animals was culled, the newspaper Daily Mail reported at the end of October.

BFREPA: Production too expensive for farmers

The association BFREPA criticized that the shortage of eggs is also due to the fact that retailers are not paying farmers sustainable prices despite increasing consumer demand. “So a large number of them are losing a significant amount of money and can no longer afford to produce eggs,” a BFREPA spokesman said recently.

Feed costs for hens have risen by 50 percent and energy bills by 40 percent since the start of the Russian war against Ukraine. A third of the members have reduced production or left the industry because they could not cover their costs, said the spokesman for the association. The shortage is likely to last until after Christmas, it said.

A total of 11.3 billion eggs were produced in the UK in 2021, with a further 1.4 billion eggs imported. Per capita consumption was 202 eggs per year.

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