Health Care

Runny eggs finally declared safe after salmonella crisis

Advice since the late 1980s has been that vulnerable groups should not consume raw or lightly cooked eggs - or dishes containing them, such as home-made mousses and mayonnaise.

The efforts of the industry means the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has now lifted the health warning for eggs carrying the British Lion logo.

"It's good news that now even vulnerable groups can safely eat United Kingdom eggs without needing to hardboil them, so long as they bear the British Lion mark".

The food watchdog said the new advice follows a year-long risk assessment by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food and is the result of extensive food safety measures introduced within the British Lion Code of Practice since its launch in 1998.

A report published by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) in July last year said the presence of salmonella in United Kingdom eggs had been "dramatically reduced" in recent years, and the risks were "very low" for eggs which had been produced according to the British Lion code.

So long as the eggs carry the British Lion mark, runny eggs are good to go.

Britain's eat around 12 billion eggs year, the majority of which are produced in the UK.

FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock said: 'It's good news that now even vulnerable groups can safely eat United Kingdom eggs without needing to hard-boil them, so long as they bear the British Lion mark.

Interventions include vaccinating hens, enhanced Salmonella testing, farm hygiene, rodent control, independent auditing and traceability and keeping eggs cool in transport from farm to shop.

The FSA said it had changed its recommendations after it "thoroughly reviewed" scientific evidence.

"The risk of salmonella is now so low you needn't worry".

'We know that many people in these groups, such as older people in care homes, would love to enjoy a traditional soft-boiled egg again'.

The fears led to two million chickens being killed and pregnant women being told to avoid undercooked eggs.

The stamp means the eggs have been produced under the highest food safety rules and can be found on those sold in all major supermarkets.

These people are vulnerable to infection or are likely to suffer serious symptoms from food poisoning.

Those that are not produced according to the British Lion code, non-hen eggs and imported eggs should still be cooked thoroughly.

"It's only people on strictly medically supervised diets who need to avoid those eggs".

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