(2) what progress has been made on discussions on the introduction of an intra-Community trade ban on eggs and egg products produced by hens housed in conventional cages after 1 January 2012; and if he will make a statement.
The Government are committed to supporting the egg industry during this transitional period and DEFRA officials are continuing to press the Commission and work alongside the industry and any like-minded member states to ensure that everything is done to maintain the ban on eggs and egg products produced by hens housed in conventional cages across the EU. We will continue to discuss this within wider meetings of the commission and other member states.
We have not heard of any applications by other member states for a delay to the ban. However, we have asked the commission to be ready should any such applications be made: to provide sufficient enforcement controls to ensure the ban can be enforced appropriately so that compliant producers and member states are protected from negative impacts of any non-compliance.
At the meeting of the Standing Committee of Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) held on the 30 November, the commission made it clear to all member states that the ban stands and that it must be implemented in full on 1 January 2012, otherwise member states would risk facing infraction proceedings.