Poultry confinement due to bird flu is under 'constant review' by Department
The possibility of introducing mandatory confinement of poultry and captive birds is being kept under constant review, according to the Department of Agriculture.
This comes after the Department confirmed the first case of bird flu in Ireland in 2018 earlier this week.
Discussions are ongoing with industry stakeholders and with authorities on both sides of the border.
Following the prolonged outbreak of avian influenza in 2016/2017, the European Commission undertook a review of regulations regarding the marketing standards for eggs.
The main consequence of this review was an amendment which said that the existing derogation under which eggs from hens without access to open air runs, as a result of veterinary restrictions, can be marketed as free range is extended from 12 to 16 weeks. This amendment came into effect on 25 November 2017.
The amendment also clarifies that the derogation applies at flock level, that is the commencement of the 16-week period begins on the date on which the flock is placed in the laying house.
The Commission has also clarified that in the event of hens' access to open air runs being restricted for more than the 16-week derogation period now permitted, eggs cannot be marketed as free range.
This will require an amendment to the producer code and the indication of the farming method on the packs.