Vulnerable groups 'safe to eat raw eggs'
Children, pregnant women and the elderly can now eat raw or lightly cooked eggs under new advice published by the Food Standards Agency.
The FSA said that it had revised its advice based on the latest scientific evidence. It means that those who are vulnerable to infection can now safely eat raw or lightly cooked eggs - providing they are produced under the British Lion Code of Practice.
A report published last year by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiology Safety of Food showed the presence of salmonella in UK eggs had fallen substantially in recent years. This meant that the risks are very low for eggs which have been produced with the British Lion quality mark. More than 90 per cent of UK eggs are produced under this scheme.
FSA chairman Heather Hancock said: “It's good news that now even vulnerable groups can safely eat UK eggs without needing to hardboil them, so long as they bear the British Lion mark. The FSA has thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence about the safety of these eggs, and we're confident that we can now change our advice to consumers.
“The major reduction in the risk of salmonella in Lion eggs is testament to the work carried out by egg producers. The measures they've taken, from vaccination of hens through to improving hygiene on farms and better transportation, have dramatically reduced salmonella levels in UK hens.
Several interventions have been put in place across the food chain as part of the Lion scheme, including vaccinating hens, enhanced testing for salmonella and improved farm hygiene.
The FSA adds that the revised advice does not apply to severely immunocompromised individuals, who require medically supervised diets prescribed by health professionals.