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Food Products: Animal origin - Eggs

Standards of Protection for Laying Hens - EU Legislation

Council Directive 99/74/EC (OJ L203, p53, 03/08/1999) of 19 July 1999 laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens

Amended by

Derogated

Registration of establishments

Commission Directive 2002/4/EC (OJ L30, p44, 31/01/2002 ) of 30 January 2002 on the registration of establishments keeping laying hens, covered by Council Directive 1999/74/EC

Adapted by

  • Commission Directive 2006/83/EC (OJ L362, p97, 20/12/2006) of 23 October 2006 adapting Directive 2002/4/EC on the registration of establishments keeping laying hens, covered by Council Directive 1999/74/EC, by reason of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania

National Legislation

European Communities (Welfare of Laying Hens) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 98 of 2002)

Council Directive 99/74/EC lays down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens, however it does not apply to establishments with fewer than 350 laying hens or to establishments rearing breeding laying hens. It distinguishes three types of rearing systems for laying hens: 'enriched cages', 'non-enriched cage systems' and 'non-cage systems'. The rearing of hens in 'non-enriched' cage systems is prohibited with effect from 1 st January 2012 . In addition, since the 1 st January 2003 such cages may not be built or brought into service for the first time.

The Directive also provides that all egg production units must be registered with the competent authorities in Member States. They must each have a distinguishing number which will be used to trace eggs back to the farm where they were produced.

Commission Directive 2002/4/EC sets out rules on the registration of establishments keeping laying hens. It also requires the use of the following codes for the farming methods defined in Commission Regulation (EC) No 589/2008

1 = 'Free range eggs'
2 = 'Barn eggs'
3 = 'Eggs from caged hens'

For organic production the terms sets out in Article 2 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 as amended may be used if the relevant conditions laid down in the Regulation are fulfilled.

Council Directive No. 1999/74/EC and Commission Directive 2002/4/EC are tranposed into Irish legislation by S.I. No. 98 of 2002 . This S.I. specifies Consol_Reg2092_91 the accommodation and other welfare requirements for keeping and rearing laying hens.

Last reviewed: 12/3/2009

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