BEIC welcomes latest FSA survey results

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) has welcomed a new report on the use of eggs in catering by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which has confirmed the success of the UK egg industry in overcoming salmonella in eggs. 

More than 9,500 eggs (1,588 6-egg samples) taken from catering premises across the UK were tested by the FSA between November 2005 and January 2007.  Salmonella was isolated from only 6 samples giving a prevalence of 0.38% - similar to the results of recent FSA surveys of eggs on retail sale.

The survey highlighted, however, evidence of poor egg storage and handling practices in some catering premises.  More than half (55%) did not store eggs under refrigerated conditions; one-third had no best-before date available and more than 10% were past the recommended dates; and there was evidence of poor stock rotation.  In addition, more than one-third of all caterers, and more than three-quarters of Chinese restaurants, pooled raw eggs – a practice which offers a potential risk of cross-contamination.

More than 85% of UK eggs are currently produced under the industry’s voluntary Lion Code of Practice, a comprehensive programme incorporating the highest standards of food safety.

“We are delighted that this has confirmed the huge success of the UK egg industry’s salmonella eradication programme,” says BEIC Chairman Andrew Parker.

A report in 2001 by the Government’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food showed that human cases of salmonella in England and Wales more than halved in the three years following the introduction of the British Lion programme.

“The British Lion is a good news story for UK agriculture.  Not only have we effectively eradicated salmonella, but we have also increased consumer confidence which means that egg sales are now rising,” says Andrew Parker.