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1980s to 1990s

By the 1980s, the company was building larger, more efficient facilities to meet the growing demand for cheaper eggs – but then it faced one of the most difficult periods in its history.

In 1988, Edwina Currie, the then-junior health minister, stated that most UK egg production was infected with Salmonella Enteritidis. Egg sales in the country plummeted by almost 60% overnight. Bird Brothers was sometimes forced to dump large numbers of eggs at landfill sites due to lack of demand.

Egg sales dropped throughout the following 10 years and in the mid-1990s the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) was formed to reverse the trend and boost British egg farming. Bird Bros was a founding member of this new body.

In 1998 the Lion Quality Mark scheme was re-launched and welcomed by food safety experts who had previously been critical of the UK egg industry. Since then

  • 130 billion high quality Lion eggs have been sold
  • the UK egg industry has invested £100 million in the British Lion scheme
  • two million Lion eggs have been tested
  • more than 50,000 audits have been carried out