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6th November 2017

Nestlé to source only cage-free eggs by 2025

Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, with over 2000 brands in 191 countries, has announced that it will source only cage-free eggs for its products from 2025.

The decision comes amid growing concern over the use of battery cages, in which multiple animals are placed in extremely cramped conditions and often share a space just 16 inches wide. Hens can suffer high levels of stress and frustration, because they are unable to perform simple natural behaviours like walking, nesting, perching, stretching their wings, scratching the ground and foraging. A combination of high calcium demand for egg production and a lack of exercise can lead them to develop osteoporosis and bone fractures.

In the U.S. and Europe, Nestlé plans to make the transition by the end of 2020. Around 95% of eggs in the US are currently produced in battery cages. Conventional battery cages were banned in the European Union (EU) from 2012 after a 12-year phase-out. However, the EU Directive still allows for enriched or "furnished" cages to be used. Animal welfare organisations, such as Compassion in World Farming, have criticised this, calling for so-called enriched cages to be prohibited, as they believe they provide no significant or worthwhile welfare benefits compared with conventional battery cages.

For the rest of the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania, the Nestlé plan will happen by 2025, with the move in Asia to be completed in the same transition period, as conditions allow. The change will include all shell eggs and egg-based products (e.g. whole egg powder and liquid, egg white powder and liquid) directly sourced as ingredients.

"Switching to cage-free supplies worldwide requires time and investment," said Nestlé in a statement. "We will manage this in a sustainable and cost effective way during the implementation period, ensuring consumers continue to access affordable high quality foods throughout. We look forward to working with our suppliers, farmers, civil society and customers to drive progress."


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