European Union ministers have delayed until July 2005 the widening of egg marketing laws insisting on eggs being stamped with their producers' identity code and information on farming methods, (free range, battery or otherwise) to producers selling eggs in public markets.

This follows a proposal from the European Commission that this extension of scope should be introduced by January 2004. The aim is to improve traceability and consumer information.

Ministers approved a request to the European Food Safety Authority to report by 2006 whether a reliably safe method of washing eggs can be established. It is generally banned on health grounds in the EU, with some limited exemptions for packers (mainly in Sweden).