Today, leading Italian food service company, Camst, has committed to go cage-free on both shell eggs and egg products by 2025.
Working in partnership with Compassion, the company aims to completely eliminate the use of caged eggs across all its products nationally, making them the first major Italian food service company to make such a commitment.
"For a company like Camst – that produces 100 million meals a year for schools, hospitals, company canteens and restaurants throughout Italy – the decision to adopt this welfare policy fits within our sustainability journey, which is a challenge as well as a great opportunity", said Francesco Malaguti, director of Camst purchases.
"Our goal is to work together with our suppliers and partners like Compassion in World Farming to extend our higher welfare practices to other sectors, to contribute to and speed up a change which has become a priority in the food industry today".
The confinement of laying hens in cages seriously affects their welfare, limiting their ability to express their natural behaviours. Camst believes that meeting their needs and guaranteeing better living conditions is essential to avoid unnecessary animal suffering.
With this commitment, Camst is leading the way in Italy and becoming part of the growing number of companies that are working to abandon the use of cages for laying hens.
The international cage-free movement – which started with McDonald's US announcement in September 2015 – is now evolving with a new wave of recent cage-free announcements in the UK from leading supermarkets.
Elisa Bianco, Food Business Manager at CIWF commented: "In the United States, in Canada and in many other European countries we are witnessing an era of great change for laying hen welfare.
In Italy over 60% of hens are still kept in cages and to date only a few Italian food companies have chosen to go cage-free on their whole egg or egg product supply. For this reason Compassion thoroughly commends Camst for leading the way in the Italian market and we hope to see other food service companies and retailers in Italy follow their example to ensure a cage-free future for all Italian hens."
What constitutes a higher welfare system for laying hens? Read more here.