Since December 2016 poultry owners in the UK have been advised to keep their birds indoors due to Avian Flu. The governments in England, Scotland and Wales issued this advice to protect the disease from spreading between birds. Although Avian Flu is not harmful to humans, bird flu is highly contagious amongst poultry and can wipe out entire flocks.
Birds that are usually free range are now being kept indoors for their protection. Under European Union rules, if birds have been housed for more than 12 weeks they cannot be marketed as free range.
For foodservice operators, this now means that the free range eggs and free range chicken used in their dishes may be from birds that are temporarily being reared indoors, and technically no longer meeting the standards to be free range.