Free range poultry produce could soon be missing from shelves due to bird flu

Bird flu.
Bird flu.

The free range eggs and poultry meat we enjoy on our dinner tables could no longer be an option in the short-term.

That’s a fear of the National Farmers’ Union if the current UK-wide ‘prevention zone’, meaning birds have to be housed, is not lifted by the end of the month.

The prevention zone came into force on December 6 in a bid to prevent the spread of avian flu. However if that ban is not lifted by February 28 then no farmer in the country will be able to claim their produce is free range.

Alison Pratt from the NFU explained that provided the produce was free range before the zone came into place farmers have 90 days to sell it before it has to be termed ‘barn’ produced.

She said there were ongoing discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the industry if the prevention zone is going to remain in place.

This would have a knock-on effect on prices, added 
Alison, with free range produce commanding a higher price than barn eggs and meat.