Free-range egg cartons have reportedly vanished off of UK supermarket shelves, as chickens across the nation are being kept under lockdown after the country reported its largest ever avian flu outbreak.

After a federal grace period ended on Monday, cartons of eggs from ordinarily free-range chickens must now be labeled as ‘Barn Eggs’ in the country.

Supermarkets plan to post signs in stores to inform customers about the change, with eggs either coming in redesigned packaging or with labels.

Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, Assistant Director, Food, British Retail Consortium, stated that the government has implemented measures to confine all birds, especially laying hens, indoors owing to the avian flu outbreak, for the safety of the farm animals.

Consequently, the eggs cannot be called ‘free-range’ anymore and their labelling would be accordingly adjusted to catalog them as ‘barn eggs’.

Martinez-Inchausti further added that retailers will continue supporting farmers across Britain, and when the present restrictions are lifted, eggs will return to being called free-range.

The move comes after the UK government declared the establishment of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the United Kingdom on November 3 of last year.

To restrict the transmission of the disease and eradicate it, bird owners in the UK are presently expected to keep their birds indoors and observe stringent biosecurity precautions.

Farmers were able to keep their free-range designation, while having to keep chickens indoors from November, if the hens were not confined for longer than 16 weeks for eggs.

However, because the avian flu lockdown is still in effect, that grace period ran out on Monday.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) stated that the country is facing its biggest ever outbreak of avian flu. Housing controls remain in place to protect chickens and other animals from this very contagious and nasty disease.

Defra further added that they have worked very closely with the poultry industry and retail outlets to comply with these changes as seamlessly as possible, with an intention to extend support for the poultry industry during this challenging phase.

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