Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

Eggs are a cheap source of protein and world consumption has trebled in the last 40 years, chiefly because intensive rearing of laying birds is highly productive. European legislation requires that from 2012 hens should no longer be kept in small cages, but should have larger 'enriched' cages. However, keeping hens outside, or in open floor systems, may increase the risk of exposure to infection and parasites. European citizens will need to be assured that their eggs remain safe and of high quality, whilst being produced by hens kept in environmental conditions that respect their well-being.

Different scientific panels have recently concluded that keeping hens on the floor or outside presents an increased risk of contamination due to a greater exposure to infectious agents or parasites. European citizens, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of food, and demand that it be free of biological and chemical contaminants.

According to their final report, RESCAPE has completed a majority of the initial milestones to reach its multidisciplinary objectives aimed at reducing the risk from eggs which are unfit for human consumption by developing complementary solutions at the level of the hen (breeding), farm (design and management) and egg marketing (egg decontamination and sorting).

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