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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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McDonald’s is lovin’ eggs from Cumbrian supplier

A family-run Cumbrian egg supplier has been named alongside multi-national business giants as a global leader in sustainable food production.

Lakes egg company photo
Helen and David Brass, of The Lakes Free Range Egg Company

The Lakes Free Range Egg Company ranks alongside drinks superpower Coca-Cola, international dairy firm Arla, food service firm Unilever and potato kingpin McCain in the new chart.

They have all been singled out for praise by fast food chain McDonald’s for their work to enhance or improve welfare and the environments in which they work.

Each of the companies supplies the global restaurant giant, something the Cumbrian company has done for more than a decade.

To earn its place as one of 50 suppliers from all over the world to be named in the 2014 Best of Sustainable Supply accolades, The Lakes, based at Stainton near Penrith, was up against 600 other entrants.

Its award was for work done to enhance animal health and welfare.

Chief executive David Brass, who heads the firm with wife Helen, said: “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the environment within which we work and are extremely proud to receive the global Best of Sustainable Supply Award from McDonald’s.”

It is reward for the company’s work to source eggs locally and work with its suppliers to improve animal husbandry. Its eggs come from its own flocks and a network of family farms mostly within 30 miles of Stainton.

It has created an advanced, tailor-made training programme for free-range egg producers in collaboration with veterinary experts and academics at nearby Newton Rigg College.

The programme includes classroom and on-farm training sessions, as well as regular producer days when suppliers meet to discuss issues facing the industry and production techniques.

On top of that The Lakes, which also has a growing reputation for its environmental work and green credentials, is a key player in efforts to stop beak trimming in flocks.

It has been instrumental in a national study of non-beak trimmed flocks, led by the University of Bristol.

The firm is also working with the university to develop new rearing techniques.

Each egg supplied to The Lakes also has a unique traceable number on it so customers can track it back to source.

Its work to improve welfare has also paid off financially for the farmers who supply the eggs through increased production, the company says.

Mr Brass, who was an RAF fighter pilot before returning to the family’s farm and going on to launch The Lakes in 1995, is working to improve its sustainability further – something the award recognises.

“It endorses the work we do on enrichment, animal welfare research and development and the support we provide for our producers,” he said.

Jose Amario, executive vice president of McDonald’s global supply chain, said: “The submissions in the Best of Sustainable Supply report demonstrate that our suppliers go above and beyond to provide sustainable leadership and that they take their commitment to preserving resources seriously.”

The Lakes other customers include Booths, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The firm also won the ‘environmental awareness’ award at the 2012 CN Group Business Awards.

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