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German agriculture minister calls for EU labels for products with eggs

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 27, 2019
German Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Kloeckner called for an EU-wide labelling obligation for products containing eggs in a letter sent to European Commissioner for Food, Vytenis Andriukaitis, the newspapers of the Funke Media Group reported.
Julia Kloeckner
Germany   Julia Kloeckner
"More and more consumers now want to make their purchasing decisions for processed foods containing eggs as an ingredient, knowing how they are kept," Kloeckner wrote in the letter.

There was no transparency once eggs were processed into other products and European consumers often could not tell whether the eggs used in products like pasta, mayonnaise or desserts, came from animal-friendly sources, wrote the minister.

"An EU-wide regulation is unrealistic in the foreseeable future," German Green Party spokesperson for agricultural policy, Friedrich Ostendorff, told the Funke Media Group newspapers.

In many eastern and southern European countries, animal protection did not play an important role, noted Ostendorff, who criticized that anyone opting for an EU-wide solution "basically does not want a solution at all."

Instead, the German Greens called for a national solution. "Germany should introduce a labelling system for products containing egg on its own," Ostendorff said.

Back in May, Kloeckner announced her intention to pursue a European initiative at the meeting of the consumer ministers of the German federal states.

However, if the European Commission "continues to assess this differently, we must and will continue to pursue the possibilities at national level," Kloeckner emphasized.

Since 2004, fresh eggs have had to be labelled in all European Union (EU) countries, marked with a code that provides information on the type of farming, origin and shelf life.

According to the German federal centre for nutrition (BZE), the number 0 denotes organic farms, 1 means the eggs come from free-range farming, 2 means barn farming and 3 refers to eggs from cage farming.