NPR logo

Producers Blame EU Regs For Egg Shortage

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/149829291/149829278" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Producers Blame EU Regs For Egg Shortage

Business

Producers Blame EU Regs For Egg Shortage

Producers Blame EU Regs For Egg Shortage

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/149829291/149829278" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

With the Easter holiday right around the corner, Europe is facing an egg shortage. The egg industry blames the shortage on new European Union rules for chicken welfare.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with some problems for the Easter bunny.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The European Union has taken a stand on which comes first - chicken or eggs. And as Teri Schultz tells us from Brussels, tighter EU regulations on poultry farms are creating a crucial shortage just before Easter.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHICKEN CLUCKING)

TERI SCHULTZ, BYLINE: Egg-laying hens, like these clucking around in suburban Brussels, got a leg up from the EU this year with a long-planned ban on battery cages, the wire pens that cram chickens tightly together.

European egg producers have had many years - a dozen, to be exact - to transition to cage-free and let the market adjust. But they're still blaming the 1999 regulation for a current severe egg shortage in the commercial sector, and price hikes of up to 250 percent in some regions.

Easter brings the year's highest demand for eggs and while supplies are fairly steady right now in grocery stores, buyers of huge volumes are taking a beating.

SABINE NAFZIGER: It is dire for our companies.

SCHULTZ: Sabine Nafziger heads up CAOBISCO, an association representing chocolate, cookie and confection manufacturers. She says some members have had to cut back production and lay off workers. The egg industry gets little sympathy from animal rights advocates. Eurogroup for Animals' Martyn Griffiths notes that despite the dozen-year transition period, 13 of the 27 member states risk EU lawsuits because they haven't enforced the change.

MARTYN GRIFFITHS: And that's totally unnecessary and unacceptable to the animal welfare movement.

SCHULTZ: EU Agriculture Commission spokesman Roger Waite says the problems are temporary and just part of the price society pays for protecting animals.

ROGER WAITE: We're not going back on these rules. Consumers want it, the politicians have accepted it.

SCHULTZ: For Easter bunnies who worry about either ethics or supplies, animal rights representative Griffiths advises...

GRIFFITHS: Go chocolate.

SCHULTZ: For NPR News, I'm Teri Schultz in Brussels.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.