France
02/11/2020

Carrefour – the first retailer to introduce a method for avoiding male chicks to be killed

As part of its food transition plan, Carrefour and Loué have entered into a partnership to produce and sell eggs laid by chickens produced using a spectrophotometric in-ovo sexing technique. Consumers will be able to purchase the products from 1 May.

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This is another step forward for animal welfare, and Carrefour is involving players across the sector in identifying and developing the best in-ovo sexing techniques in France. As soon as a concerted solution that can be industrialised has been identified, Carrefour will commit to rolling out in-ovo sexing to all eggs sold under the Carrefour brand.
 
A first solution for Carrefour Quality Line eggs
 
Since December 2019, Carrefour has been using a spectrophotometric technique (based on colour analysis) for in-ovo selection of laying hens used to produce Carrefour Quality Line eggs. This is a first in France.  This way, laying hens can be selected before they hatch, thus avoiding the need to kill male chicks.
 
The project has been developed in partnership with the Loué farmers' co-operative – long-standing Carrefour Quality Line partners – and the AAT group, global specialists in in-ovo sexing technologies. By 1 May, this technology will have been used on 30,000 hens, with annual egg production that will eventually reach 7 million.
 
Carrefour testing emerging solutions with a view to a roll-out
 
Carrefour wants to provide consumers with various emerging solutions and ensure that everybody can take advantage of this offering. We are therefore supporting all suppliers which have technical in-ovo sexing solutions to offer us. Following the launch of BIO Poulehouse eggs, Carrefour will sell two other types of organic, free-range Cocorette eggs in the second half of 2020, produced using a method that involves identifying male or female hormones in the egg.
 
Carrefour is the first retailer to commit to rolling out in-ovo sexing on a significant scale, shortly after Didier Guillaume, France's Minister for Food and Agriculture, announced on 13 January in Berlin that the practice of crushing male chicks would be prohibited by the end of 2021. As soon as a concerted solution that can be industrialised has been identified, Carrefour will commit to rolling out the best technique for in-ovo sexing to all eggs sold under the Carrefour brand.
 
Carrefour’s commitments for the egg sector
 
Whether it's the introduction of GMO-free feeds in 2010, rearing chickens without antibiotics in 2013, the commitment to banning cages in 2016, the introduction of winter gardens for chickens reared out in the open in 2018 or the roll-out of blockchain technology in 2019, Carrefour is continually supporting the egg sector (1249 farms in France), helping it to improve animal welfare and take our customers' concerns into account.
Starting on 1 March, our main objective of phasing out eggs produced by caged chickens will have been reached in our 5000 retail outlets.
 
Of the 500 million eggs sold under our brands, 80% are produced by free-range chickens (code 1) and are organic (code 0) and 20% are eggs produced by chickens reared out in the open with winter gardens (code 2). We have also started substituting eggs produced by cage-reared chickens for eggs produced by free-range chickens or chickens reared out in the open air for our 650 Carrefour-branded processed products.

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