Top chefs scramble to celebrate British Egg Week

Top British chefs, including Marcus Wareing, Gary Rhodes and Tom Aikens, have donated their favourite egg recipes to show their support for the British egg industry as it approaches an important deadline.

The chefs are joining forces to celebrate this versatile ingredient during British Egg Week (10-16 October) and to call on the public to ‘look for the Lion’ in light of a threat of a flood of illegal imports next year, when battery cages will be banned across the EU.

Marcus Wareing’s custard tart will be rubbing shoulders with Paul Merrett’s North African frittata and Atul Kochhar’s fennel bread and butter pudding, as well as many other chefs’ recipes, on a new website www.britisheggweek.com.

Research* shows that nearly two-thirds of UK consumers would rather shop elsewhere than buy eggs that aren’t British – and at the end of this year shoppers will have even more reasons to look for the Lion mark on their eggs. Not only are British Lion eggs among the safest in the world, but the UK is also leading the way on animal welfare.

Britain already has the largest commercial free range flock in the world and is now ahead of many countries in implementing a ban on battery cages.

On 1 January 2012 conventional battery cages will be banned across the EU, to be replaced by larger enriched ‘colony’ cages which not only give the hens more space and height but also provide a nest, perching space and a scratching area. Most British Lion cage eggs already come from the new system and all will do so by 1 January.

However, industry experts estimate that many producers in other EU countries will not meet the deadline, meaning that more than one-third of caged hens – more than 80 million birds – across the EU will still be in battery cages when the deadline passes, leading to the risk of cheap imported ‘illegal’ eggs going on sale in the UK next year.

The new British Egg Week site will not only feature recipes by celebrity chefs, but offer ways to make it easier for shoppers to know they’re buying British Lion eggs that comply with this new law and are safe to eat.

Research shows that the public expect eggs bought in UK shops to be British, with 74 per cent of people saying they felt this was a given, and 70 per cent expect eggs served in UK restaurants, hotels and cafes also to be British rather than imported.

*OnePoll survey of 2,000 adults, June 2011

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