Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Major Caterer Commits to Ethically Produced Eggs

An example of the conditions caged hens are kept in
By Ben Aulakh

One of Britain’s largest catering companies has helped to benefit nearly 30, 000 caged hens by switching to using free range eggs.

From October 4, Westbury Street Holdings, which supplies food to London businesses Selfridges, Ernst and Young and IPC Media are ditching intensively farmed eggs in favour of RSPCA Approved “Freedom Food” eggs.

The move will mean around 27,000 egg-laying hens will no longer be kept in cages thanks to the company’s commitment to using more ethically produced eggs.

The firm said the move came amid growing consumer concern around animal welfare, Chief Executive Alistair Storey said, "These consumers are the same people who go to work in offices and who study at schools and colleges every day. 

“As the caterer we have a duty to respond to their concerns and provide them with meals that address their food choices when we are feeding them during the day and where they are not necessarily in control of the ingredients that are put in their lunch." 

The Freedom Food mark means that animals are kept in humane conditions which allow them to exhibit their natural behaviours, in stark contrast to being tightly packed together in cages. 

The company also comprises food service companies BaxterStorey, Caterlink and Holroyd Howe.


Steve McIvor, Director of Food Business, Compassion in World Farming said: "It is very positive to see a company which plays such an important part in feeding the UK population taking the welfare of laying hens so seriously by ensuring that the eggs they serve are free-range. 

Westbury serve 25 million meals a year and it is hoped that by sourcing free-range eggs from one farm will give the people who dine in restaurants they manage the confidence to know that the firm can pinpoint the exact origins and pedigree of the food they are eating. 

Mr Storey added, “This is a decision that we are proud to announce and it's a move that will benefit our clients, customers and the UK farming industry."

Compassion in World Farming continues to work with major caterers in the UK and Europe to ensure high standards of animal welfare, you can find out more about Compassion at www.ciwf.org.uk.


Photograph from www.ciwf.org.uk

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