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Demand for eggs traditionally reaches its peak around the Easter holiday. This year, the egg industry has been hit by the European Union’s new requirements for bigger, more animal-friendly cages for hens. The changes it brings have affected production and, combined with high feed cost, boosted consumer prices.

Ahead of Easter Sunday, on April 8 or 15 depending on the religious denomination, it makes for a costly tradition on a continent where millions have grown up painting or dyeing eggs as children and are now facing economic crisis.

At Warsaw’s Hala Mirowska market, the egg sales of Jacek Bechcicki are down as he faces customers grumbling about high prices. “The holiday will be poorer for some of my customers,” Bechcicki said.

Pekka Pesonen used to color and dye eggs as a kid in his native Finland. As a rite of spring, “it was a celebration of new life,” he remembers. Now, Pesonen is secretary general of a major European farm federation and is seeing how the new EU legislation has put a damper on this Easter season.

Read more.    Is the US immune from “Easter egg shortages” in the future?