1. Are all your hens inside a barn? When did this happen?
We don’t want our hens getting bird flu so all of the hens that provide our Free Range eggs have had to be moved inside, following government orders.
2. Why are they inside?
The government have issued the ruling to stop the spread of ‘Bird (Avian) Flu’. The order was issued on December 6th 2016 following an outbreak on the disease in Europe.
3. How can you call your eggs are from Free Range hens when they are indoors?
All our eggs are Free Range. Under EU marketing regulations they can be called free range for up to 12 weeks after they have gone inside, if they have been moved to protect public health. This move indoors, while unusual, has been undertaken purely to help protect the flocks of birds and to keep them healthy and safe.
4. How long will your hens be inside?
This will be decided by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Matters). In line with the UK egg industry and other retailers, we will follow government orders and keep the hens inside for as long as we are advised to.
5. How long do the hens have to remain inside for before they can no longer be termed Free Range?
After the initial 12 weeks is ended, they can no longer be officially called Free Range.
6. What are you doing to help your egg farmers manage this situation?
Co-op is very proud to support British Farmers and go over and above many other UK retailers to this end. We are working closely with our egg supplier to ensure our farmers are not adversely affected by this temporary situation and the hens are kept healthy and looked after. In line with Co-op Farming group structure, we are currently working with our egg farmers to create a dedicated Co-op Egg Farming group.
7. What is Avian Flu?
Avian flu, which is sometimes called bird flu refers to flu caused by viruses that infect birds and make them ill. It is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. The infection can cause different symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness, which may pass unnoticed, to fatality.
8. Can humans catch it?
It is extremely rare for a human to catch Avian flu and where this has occurred it is as a result of direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments. One human cannot pass it to another. There is no evidence that the avian influenza viruses can infect humans through properly cooked food.