Consultation on removing the 16-week derogation period in egg marketing standards legislation in England and Scotland

Closed 5 Mar 2024

Opened 9 Jan 2024


This consultation seeks views on a proposed legislative reform to the Egg Marketing Standards Regulation. The proposed change will simplify the regulation on the labelling of free-range eggs, enabling free-range eggs to be marketed as such for the duration of any mandatory housing measures in England and Scotland.

Why your views matter

We want to know what you think about the government’s proposal to remove the 16 week derogation period. This is the maximum amount of time allowed for hens to be kept indoors during periods of mandatory housing measures and the eggs they lay to still be labelled as 'free range'. These housing measures are put in place to help stop the spread of bird flu. Currently if poultry is housed for longer than 16 weeks, the eggs must be labelled as ‘barn’ rather than 'free range'. The proposed removal of the derogation limit would mean eggs can be labelled as 'free range' for the duration of any mandatory housing measures. 


  • Food Industry
  • Farmers


  • Food labelling
  • Egg industry
  • Poultry industry
  • Livestock disease control