Gold Standard For British Lion

UK - The Code of Practice for British Lion eggs has been significantly upgraded, with enhanced salmonella controls and improved traceability, to confirm its place as the UK and EU’s pre-eminent food assurance scheme.
calendar icon 27 September 2007
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The latest requirements include stringent new auditing procedures and the launch of a new website for consumers to trace their eggs back to the farm.

The Lion Code of Practice has also been formally accredited to the EN 45011 auditing standard. The Code itself is being re-issued to all 1,400 Lion scheme members in a new, more easily accessible format.

The Lion mark, first introduced by the British Egg Marketing Board in 1957, was relaunched by the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) in 1998, to represent the highest standards in UK egg production and to effectively eliminate salmonella from UK eggs. The Code covers all stages of egg production and requirements include compulsory vaccination against salmonella of all pullets destined for Lion-egg producing flocks; controls on feed; testing of hens, eggs and feed; a ‘best before’ date stamped on the egg shell; extensive on-farm and packing station hygiene controls; and independent auditing.

The Lion Code of Practice has been updated regularly to incorporate emerging research findings but the latest changes are the most comprehensive yet.

New additions to the Code include:

  • Improved salmonella testing, including additional and more sensitive environmental tests
  • More stringent auditing, including unannounced audits of all Lion packing centres and new penalties including financial penalties for critical non-conformances
  • Improved traceability, including an expanded ‘live’ database of all BEIC scheme members; a register of wholesale traded eggs
  • A website for consumers to trace eggs back to the farm from the code on their eggs, which will go ‘live’ from October.

BEIC Chairman Andrew Parker commented: “This major upgrade of the Lion Code of Practice will ensure that we maintain its position as a world-leading food assurance scheme. The latest measures add a number of new initiatives to the already stringent food safety and biosecurity controls included in the Code.”

Approximately 85% of UK eggs are produced under the British Lion Quality scheme and egg producers have invested £50 million in the scheme since 1998. The Lion scheme has been largely responsible for the dramatic reduction in human cases of salmonella in the UK in recent years - a recent Food Standards Agency survey (2004) found no salmonella in 28,000 British eggs tested.

The status of UK egg production as among the safest in the world was confirmed in a 2007 European Food Safety Authority report.

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