Eggs not so free range

Shoppers paying almost double the normal price for free-range eggs may be wasting their money if they think they are choosing the most ethical and nutritious option.

Many eggs sold as “free-range” are laid by hens that never get outside to peck at fresh grass and insects, and may even have clipped beaks, say industry insiders and animal welfare experts.

Despite calls by eggs producers, the government has failed to set legal standards for how much outside space a free-range hen must have, the size of flocks and the provision of grassy paddocks, instead relying on a largely voluntary welfare code.

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