Consultation Launched on Raw Egg Health Advice

UK - The Food Standards Agency has today launched a 10-week public consultation on a draft report looking at the safety of raw or lightly cooked eggs.
calendar icon 23 February 2016
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The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) has welcomed the consultation, which came after a recent report on UK egg safety by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF).

The ACMSF report, published in January, concluded that British Lion eggs can safely be eaten runny, even by pregnant women, babies and elderly people.

It recommended that the FSA should consider amending its long-standing advice – that vulnerable groups should avoid raw or lightly cooked eggs - for eggs produced under the British Lion scheme or a demonstrably-equivalent comprehensive scheme.

Professor John Coia, Chair of the expert group on eggs, said: "The committee has acknowledged that there has been a reduction in the risk from Salmonella in UK eggs since 2001. This is especially the case for eggs produced under the Lion Code, or equivalent, schemes."

The reduction in Salmonella risk came after huge efforts from the egg industry to reduce incidence of Salmonella on farms. The FSA said recent outbreaks of food poisoning linked to salmonella in eggs highlights that a different level of risk still exists for types of eggs other than hens' eggs, so the health advice will remain the same for these.

"We urge FSA to accept ACMSF’s risk assessment and recommendations, and update its advice to vulnerable groups as soon as possible after the consultation period," said BEIC Chairman Andrew Joret.

"We have been confident for some time that the safety record of British Lion eggs means that vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, babies and elderly people should be able to consume them when runny.

"The report is particularly relevant for mothers - we know that the current advice has meant that many women avoid eggs during pregnancy and weaning, yet health experts say that eggs are an important food for both mothers and babies.

"Not only are they highly nutritious, but emerging research also suggests that eating eggs in both pregnancy and early in the weaning process is likely to help reduce the risk of the baby developing an egg allergy.

"We also know that many people in these groups, such as older people in care homes, would love to enjoy a traditional soft-boiled egg again."

The BEIC is urging the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to amend its official advice promptly following the 10-week consultation period.

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