Major reduction in risk from salmonella in UK eggs


An expert group, set up by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF), to look at egg safety found there has been a reduction in the risk from salmonella in UK shell eggs since its last report on this issue 15 years ago.

The group concluded that the risk level for UK hen shell eggs produced under the Lion code, or produced under demonstrably equivalent comprehensive schemes, should be considered as very low, while for other hen shell eggs, including non UK eggs consumed in the UK, the risk level should be considered low. The report recommends that Lion code eggs (or eggs produced under equivalent schemes) can be served raw or lightly cooked to those in vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, the young and the elderly (but is not intended to include severely immunocompromised individuals).

Following finalisation of the ACMSF report in June 2016, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have reviewed their consumer advice taking into account the independent committee’s conclusions and recommendations.

It is proposed that the FSA and FSS will continue to advise that all raw, soft boiled hen eggs or foods containing lightly cooked hen eggs are unlikely to lead to illness in people who are in good health (who are not in a vulnerable group).

In addition, the FSA will no longer advise against the consumption of raw and lightly cooked eggs by vulnerable groups provided they are produced under the Lion code quality assurance scheme. This advice does not include severely immunocompromised individuals.

The existing advice on non hen shell eggs (eg duck and quail eggs), which should not be consumed raw or lightly cooked, will not change.

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