Prague Airport Restaurant bans caged eggs

The operator of Václav Havel Airport Prague will switch this week

Restaurants and catering establishments operated by Prague Airport (Letiště Praha), the company that runs Václav Havel Airport Prague, will start using eggs only from chickens that are not caged.

The company as of this week will only buy eggs from suppliers who use other methods to keep chickens that lay eggs. The move comes after several large retail chains in the Czech Republic also announced the switch, though they have a longer transition time since the volume they sell is higher.

“We believe that, first of all, customer requirements have the potential to influence the ethical way of producing food as well as its quality. We are delighted that we have set out in this direction and have been able to implement a specific project within a very short time horizon. At the same time, we hope to set an example for other companies that buy eggs,” Hana van der Hoeven, Prague Airport's corporate responsibility specialist, said in a press release.

The decision is in line with the airport's goal to improve the quality of food for passengers and employees, and at the same time confirms that the airport is actively interested in a sustainable business approach.

Interest in cage-free eggs took off after a recent news report on Czech Television showed farm conditions for chickens. Last week several chains including Lidl, Globus, Kaufland, Penny Market, Billa, Ahold, Tesco and e-shop Rohlí announced they will stop carrying eggs from caged chickens, but some will transition as late as 2025.

The delay is because, in order to produce at high volume, new cage-free facilities will have to be built.

Many Czech egg producers already just changed from one type of cage to another, but now will have to change again to meet the demand for cage-free eggs.

The European Union on Jan. 1, 2012, banned some types of cages. The new rules allowed “enriched cages,” with a defined minimum amount of space, or alternative systems that specified the number of chickens per square meter, and a minimum number of nesting spaces.

Czech producers in response the new EU rules mostly converted to enhanced cages instead of alternative systems, and in the time since 2012 have stuck to that model as it was cheapest.

EU countries that have adopted a full ban on cages such as Germany, Belgium or the United Kingdom have a high standard of living and higher purchasing power.

Countries with lower purchasing power, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain, still tend to use enhanced cages.

Alternatives to caged eggs include cage-free or “barn” eggs, where chickens are allowed to move around uninhibited in an enclosed space; or free range, where chickens have the opportunity to go outside.

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