The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) is warning consumers in the United Kingdom that they may have been misled when picking up their groceries. UK consumers buying processed foods such as cakes and quiches are likely to be eating eggs laid by caged and barn hens.

Mr Kipling’s famous household treats use eggs laid by barn hens. Despite making the switch to free range in 2011, with an accompanying multi-million pound campaign, Mr Kipling later made a u-turn on this decision.

Also under fire is McVitie’s who, despite promising to go ‘cage-free’ by 2025, currently uses eggs laid by caged hens in its much-loved Jaffa Cakes.

The BHWT, which saves over 50,000 hens from slaughter each year and re-homes them as family pets, is urging the public to join its Hidden Eggs Campaign and sign petitions calling for McVitie’s and Mr Kipling to go free range.

Jane Howorth MBE, the charity's founder, said: “If you are passionate about hen welfare, make time to read ingredients lists. As a general rule, if it doesn’t say free range, it’s not. So, while you may have been picking up boxes of free range whole eggs, it’s entirely likely you have been accidentally eating eggs laid by caged hens without realising. Brands need to be much more transparent about where the eggs in their products come from.”

Joining the call for change is BHWT Campaigns Ambassador Lucy Gavaghan, who successfully petitioned Tesco to stop selling eggs laid by caged hens in its stores. She said: “I’m so pleased to be able to support this important campaign. It’s down to us as consumers to influence change in order to improve welfare conditions for the millions of hens who are out of sight, out of mind, laying eggs each day to go into the foods we eat.”

You can take action by signing the petitions set up by the BHWT here: