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Shoppers could face egg rationing as supermarket bosses warn of shortages

BRITAINS biggest supermarkets are considering putting rations on eggs or importing from Poland as they grapple with looming shortages.

Three senior supermarket sources told The Sun that there were now urgent talks across the industry about how to cope with an egg crisis.

Farmers have blamed a huge jump in animal feed costs

The shortage of eggs has been partly caused by another outbreak of avian flu but also a delayed knock-on impact from millions of birds dying during the summers heatwave.

In August the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs had said that it was deeply concerned about the scale of chicken mortalities in industrial chicken sheds as birds died from heat exhaustion when temperatures reached record highs.

It is understood that a lot of the birds that died were broiler chickens those reared for consumption rather than laying eggs.

This summer was the hottest on record with temperatures passing 40 degrees centigrade or 104 Fahrenheit.

The problems have been exacerbated by a number of farmers exiting the industry, with fewer laying hens than ever before, because rising costs has meant that it is harder to make a profit.

Farmers have blamed a huge jump in animal feed costs, caused by the war in Ukraine which has sent grain prices soaring.

Importing more eggs from abroad will likely lead to higher prices for shoppers, because of additional transport costs, at a time when Brits are already facing soaring food inflation.

The price of a box of a dozen eggs has already risen by more than 22 per cent, according to official figures.

While shoppers are now paying 20p more for a dozen eggs, farmers are only receiving another 4p.

Ioan Humphreys, an egg farmer in Wales, blamed supermarkets for not paying egg farmers enough.

The price of new birds has gone up but our price of eggs has stayed the same. We physically cant afford to produce these eggs, he said in a social media video.

A spokesman for the British Egg Industry Council said Egg supply is fairly tight at present, however, availability does naturally fluctuate in terms of supply and demand and the industry is working closely with retailers to ensure we are able to continue to meet consumer demand for British Lion eggs.

Last year the UK produced 11.3 billion eggs and had to import another 1.4 billion to meet demand.

Britain typically consumes 13.5 billion eggs.

The majority of UK eggs are free-range with just over a third produced by hens in cages.

Supermarket sources told The Sun that there were already shortages of some eggs, particularly medium sizes.

Food manufacturers are already having to turn to overseas egg suppliers to deal with the shortages of liquid egg which is used widely in baking products.

All turkeys and chicken are now having to be kept indoors to protect birds from avian flu and a rapid escalation on farms.

Entire flocks of birds can be culled if they catch the disease.



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