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UK Free Range Egg Producers Protest Unfair Contracts


The British Free Range Egg Producers Association representing independent farmers supplying 40 packers has announced the results of a review of contract terms.

A study conducted by a firm of lawyers has demonstrated onerous conditions in contracts disfavoring producers of free-range eggs. Major items of contention include:-

  • Diverse codes of practice

  • Extended payment terms

  • Grading standards and results on which price is based, as established by packers

  • Inconsistencies in duration and rights to terminate contracts

  • One-sided provisions relating to exclusivity restricting the bargaining power of producers.

It is noted that overproduction of free-range eggs relative to demand has shaved margins for UK producers many of whom have either ceased operation or transited to barn systems.

On May 27th EGG-NEWS posted an item reporting the production of 3.9 million cases in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 3.5 million cases in the corresponding quarter of 2017. The nest-run price of free-range eggs in May in the U.K. was the equivalent of $1.18 per dozen compared to $46 cents per dozen for eggs from approved enriched colony modules. During the first quarter of 2018 U.K. producers faced competition from imported EU eggs following re-stocking of Dutch and Belgian farms after the fipronil crisis of 2017.