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Producers ask FSA for clearer advice to caterers

01/12/2009

British Lion egg producers have criticised the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for failing to give clear advice to caterers about using safe eggs.  This follows recent outbreaks of Salmonella poisoning cases linked to Spanish eggs.

It has asked the FSA to urgently review its advice to caterers to highlight the higher safety profile of eggs from flocks vaccinated against salmonella. 

More than 85% of UK-produced eggs are produced under the British Lion scheme, which requires vaccination of hens against salmonella along with a range of other food safety measures. 

“All major UK retailers specify British Lion eggs and we believe it is time that caterers took similar responsibility for buying eggs with an impeccable safety profile,” says Andrew Parker, Chairman of the British Egg Industry Council.

Several outbreaks of Salmonella have taken place in England since August involving a strain of salmonella, S. Enteritidis PT 14b NxCpl, which has not been found in egg-laying flocks in Great Britain.

Since the introduction of the British Lion scheme in 1998, salmonella has been effectively eliminated from British eggs.  This has been confirmed by a number of independent surveys.  A report from the Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Safety of Food in 2001 acknowledged the success of the British Lion vaccination programme in tackling salmonella in eggs and in 2004 the Food Standards Agency found no salmonella inside 28,000 UK-produced eggs tested.  In 2006 the status of UK egg production as among the safest in the world was confirmed by an EU Salmonella Zoonoses survey.