British eggs: Back on the menu for all


This article updates the latest guidance and research on the suitability of eggs as a good source of nutrition for particular population groups. This follows the publication of two important UK government reports: revised advice for vulnerable groups from the Food Standards Agency and a draft report about infant feeding from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), as well as a recent review on egg consumption and cardiovascular disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes. The Food Standards Agency now advises that raw or lightly cooked British eggs are safe to eat for vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, babies, toddlers and older people, provided that the eggs bear the Lion mark. This indicates that they have been produced under the British Lion Code of Practice, a scheme that includes more than 700 auditable criteria, of which vaccination of laying hens against Salmonella is a key aspect. The draft SACN report Feeding in the First Year of Life recommends that first complementary foods should be introduced from around 6 months of age and that there is no need to differentiate hens’ egg from other foods in this respect. There is also a warning that the deliberate exclusion or delayed introduction of allergenic foods including egg may increase the risk of allergy to these foods later in childhood. As regards people with type 2 diabetes, despite earlier concerns from epidemiological studies that higher egg intake might increase cardiovascular disease risk, more recent high-quality intervention studies indicate that, provided eggs are consumed as part of a healthy, energy-controlled diet, there is no need for concern. Eggs provide a wide range of important nutrients, including several that are found in only a limited number of other foods, such as vitamin D, iodine and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid. They are therefore a useful and versatile ingredient for pregnant women, infants and children, and older people.

Gray, J, British eggs: Back on the menu for all, Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 43, Issue 1, March 2018, Pages 85–92

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