In April 2021, Lever Foundation, along with another NGO, wrote and circulated a letter signed by 13 Members of the European Parliament calling on European firms to stop using caged eggs in their global supply chain.

The landmark letter urged all globally-operating European food companies without existing commitments to set a public timeline for ending the sale of caged eggs in their international supply chains. The letter hit the headlines in Europe, adding pressure on food companies to remove cages in Asia and beyond and extend the same animal welfare and food safety policies they practice in Europe to their operations abroad.

“The duty for food companies to behave responsibly toward animals and consumers does not end at the borders of the continent, the letter reads. For European food companies to use in their supply chains in Asia, the Middle East, or elsewhere practices that are so cruel and unsafe as to be illegal in the E. U. and practices that in many cases violate the companies’ own stated animal welfare policies are an abdication of corporate social responsibility.”

A 2019 report by the European Food Safety Authority found that the shift to cage-free has resulted in lower rates of salmonella poisoning in customers. Members of Parliament noted that the majority of eggs consumed in the EU are now produced in cage-free or free-range systems and that the shift has generated strong improvements in animal welfare and better protection of public health.

“Failing to provide Asian, Middle Eastern, African or Latin American consumers the same level of food safety and food quality provided to European consumers can rightly be viewed as discriminatory,” the letter adds.

Shortly after the letter circulated, the European Parliament voted on a ban to end the use of cages in animal agriculture by 2027 prompted by the “End the Cage Age” European Citizens Initiative. This high-profile campaign was led by 170 European NGOs and 1.4 million citizens who signed the petition. The initiative was debated at the European Parliament’s plenary session on June 10, 2021, and the resolution was adopted on the same day.

While progress is being made across Europe, Lever continues to urge food companies in Asia, the world’s largest egg-consuming region, to eliminate the use of caged eggs in their operations.


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