That didn’t take long.
Six months after a UK Food Standards Agency working group suggested that raw or lightly cooked – runny – eggs were safe for all as long as they were produced under the Lion code or equivalent standards, the report was adopted by FSA so the BBC headline was, “Raw eggs ‘safe for pregnant women.”
The risk of Salmonella from UK eggs produced to Lion code or equivalent standards should be considered “very low”, the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food said.
It said this meant eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to “vulnerable” groups like the elderly and the young.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun a consultation on the issue.
The committee’s report said there had been a “major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs” since a report it produced in 2001,
Its recommendation to classify certain eggs as “very low” risk only applies to UK hens’ eggs produced under Lion code or equivalent standards.
It also warns that safety guidelines including proper storage and eating eggs within best before dates must be followed.
“The consultation is inviting views on the recommended changes to the FSA’s advice from a range of stakeholders, including food and hospitality industries, consumer and enforcement bodies, and health care practitioners,” it said.
It currently advises members of vulnerable groups against eating “raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs” due to the risk of food poisoning.
Professor John Coia, Chair of the ACMSF Expert Ad Hoc group on eggs said, ‘The committee has found that there has been a major reduction in the risk from Salmonella in UK hens’ eggs since 2001. This is especially the case for eggs produced under the Lion Code, or equivalent schemes. It also recommended that these eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to both those in good health and those in more vulnerable groups.’
Following Committee approval and a UK wide consultation of the report, the FSA has agreed to examine its advice taking into account the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations.