Egg farmers have demanded ministers rip up free-range labelling rules as they warn another avian flu outbreak could hit before the end of the year.
British farmers were forced to re-brand their free-range eggs as "barn" eggs in March after all chickens had to be kept indoors for four months to curb the country's largest ever outbreak of bird flu.
The UK-wide housing order was only lifted on May 2 after officials said the risk of the outbreak spreading had lessened, meaning free-range eggs were able to return to shelves.
However, industry bosses warn more outbreaks of avian flu could come later this year and next, piling further stress on farmers who are already battling soaring costs. Keeping birds inside adds to farmer's electricity and heating bills.
Farmers hope the Government will allow free-range rules to align with requirements for organic produce, meaning chickens only have to be outside for a third of their life.
In a speech at the Pig & Poultry Fair, Mark Williams, chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council, said: "I think we have to prepare ourselves as an industry that we are going to get clobbered again at the end of this year and we’ll probably get clobbered again the following year."
Mr Williams called for a shake-up of rules requiring farmers to re-label eggs as "barn" if birds are kept indoors for more than 16 weeks.
"In my book, it is quite simple; they are still free range hens but because of a piece of paper called legislation they have to be called barn after 16 weeks," he said, in comments first reported by Farming UK.
“That to me is wrong and we are actively lobbying the Government now we are out of Europe to change that."
Mr Williams said bosses were pushing to see "if we can align matters with the organic regulations, which is effectively birds have to have access outside for a third of life".
“We need the Government to be listening on that and so far they are not. We need to put a lot more pressure on them and that is what we are already doing.”
The call to loosen rules further comes after EU regulators extended the period by which farmers are stripped of their free-range status from 12 weeks to 16 weeks in late 2017. At the time, the UK was still part of the EU and also introduced the change.
Around 70pc of the eggs sold in supermarkets are free-range, according to Kantar, almost double the level in 2014.
The comments come as other European countries and the US battle avian flu outbreaks, driven by migratory birds.
While the UK has removed the mandatory housing order, farmers are still having to follow strict biosecurity rules to prevent fresh outbreaks.