French cake manufacturers have called for urgent help after several farms halted egg production for failing to implement EU poultry happiness rules, sending the price of eggs skyrocketing.
Shortages began after the European Union Welfare of Laying Hens Directive banned the use of battery cages from January 1, forcing an unspecified number of farms that did not apply the new rule to temporarily cease production.
France is now suffering a shortfall of 21 million eggs a week or 10 per cent of overall production, the National Union of Egg Industries and Professionals (SNIPO) said in a statement.
As a result, egg prices shot up 75 per cent between October last year and February, the statement said, with a potential knock-on effect on the cost of pastries, cakes and even sweet brioche bread.
"This unbalanced and significant situation could go on for most of 2012," SNIPO warned.
The businesses asked French authorities for "urgent, exceptional and temporary measures to increase short-term (egg) availability".
The SNIPO includes such organisations as the Union for Crusty and Soft Breadmaking, French Biscuit and Cake Makers and the Union of Manufactured Food Businesses.
Cake and brioche manufacturers may soon be forced to shut down production and temporarily lay off workers if shortages continue, the statement warned.