New research paper praises UK industry on egg safety

Further endorsement of the British egg industry’s success in tackling salmonella has been published in a new scientific paper in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The paper* cites a 99% decrease in human cases of Salmonella enteritidis between 1997 and 2011, following the introduction of the Lion scheme.  It highlights ‘the improvements in hygienic practice from egg production and distribution through the major supermarket chains has resulted in major improvements in the microbiological quality of eggs bought by consumers in the United Kingdom’.

However, despite the spectacular results in the British industry, the paper highlights that salmonella contamination of eggs remains a problem in many EU Member States and warns that ‘investigation of outbreaks indicates that the infection is mainly transmitted through the consumption of imported eggs in commercial catering’.   It recommends the need to incorporate safer practices across the catering sector, as the use of imported raw shell eggs and poor hygiene practices are more common in this area.

The report concludes that the introduction of effective interventions, including the British Lion scheme, may have reduced the number of Salmonella outbreaks by almost 1m, reducing the number of illness by more than 6m and the number of deaths caused by salmonella by 2,000.




* Lane CR, LeBaigue S, Esan OB, Awofisyo AA, Adams NL, Fisher, IST. Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, England and Wales, 1945–2011. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2014 Jul