British Lion celebrates 15 years of safeguarding Britain’s health
This week (2 November 2013) sees the launch of a new version of the British Lion Code of Practice, marking the 15th anniversary of the Code and the return of the ‘little Lion’ to British eggs.
Since November 1998, 130 billion Lion eggs have been sold, £100million has been invested by the UK egg industry in the British Lion scheme, 2 million Lion eggs have been tested and more than 50,000 audits have been carried out.
The Lion scheme has effectively eradicated Salmonella in British eggs and reversed a long-term sales decline, with egg consumption now back to its highest level since before the original salmonella crisis 25 years ago, and an increase in more than £300million in the retail market value since 1998.
Nearly 90% of UK eggs are now produced within the Lion scheme and the British Lion is now the UK’s leading food safety mark with consumer recognition of more than 80% - double that of other comparable food quality marks. The Lion scheme is the only UK egg-specific assurance scheme that meets the stringent requirements of the EN 45011 international accreditation standard.
To maintain the very highest levels of food safety, version 7 of The Lion Code of Practice has been launched. At more than 200 pages in length, and with more than 700 auditable criteria, it is the most comprehensive yet, consolidating the very latest scientific, veterinary and food safety advice on producing and handling eggs.
Leading food safety experts, as well as Edwina Currie, have endorsed the success of the Lion scheme in its 15th anniversary year.
“The producers concerned have made an enormous amount of effort to ensure that their laying flocks are clean, that they’re vaccinated, and they have a testing regime which I think is second to none. I’m quite proud of my little part in making sure that that happened and I’m very glad to be able to say so. You can have your soft-boiled egg today, in Britain, provided it’s got a little Lion on. It’s safe,” said Mrs Currie.
A recent research paper, ‘The “decline and fall” of non-typhoidal Salmonella in the United Kingdom’, by Professor Sarah O’Brien, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, confirmed how the ‘remarkable decline’ in incidences of Salmonella cases, a major contribution to improving public health, coincided with the introduction of measures including an industry-led vaccination programme in broiler-breeder and laying poultry flocks.
Andrew Joret, Chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, said: “The British Lion scheme is one of the world’s greatest food industry success stories. The introduction of the Lion Code of Practice 15 years ago has effectively eliminated Salmonella and restored consumer confidence in British eggs, with consumption now at the highest level for more than two decades.
“The launch of the latest version of the Code is the culmination of years of work and the improvements to the standards maintains the Lion scheme’s pre-eminence among food assurance schemes.”