Scientist warns of salmonella risk from imported eggs

UK - Britons are at risk of food poisoning from cheap imported eggs despite the success of British producers in curbing the threat from salmonella, a conference was told yesterday.

Tom Humphrey, a veterinary professor at Bristol University, warned that a hen vaccination programme that had dramatically cut the bacteria in British poultry could be undermined by lack of proper controls elsewhere in Europe.

Many recent outbreaks of infection in humans had serious implications for public health, because they introduced types not seen before in this country. Work at Bristol had shown that the behaviour of these bacteria in eggs could be different from all the "resident" British types. There was a danger that existing vaccines might prove ineffective.

Addressing a Health Protection Agency conference in Liverpool, Prof Humphrey said: "It is vital that salmonella control programmes in one country are not undermined by the importation of foods from another where intervention has not been so rigorous."

He added: "I think we have to accept controls across the EU and certainly across the world are not the same ... There is a chance of bringing in different organisms."

He was careful not to single out Spain for criticism, but there was an international row last year when UK health and food safety officials pointed to imported Spanish eggs as a source of infections linked to 15 deaths in two years.

Source: Guardian
calendar icon 17 June 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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