Food Safety Long
10th June 2016

Since the 1990s the relationship between Salmonella and eggs has been well documented and researched. You may remember the famous interview with Edwina Currie, the then Junior Heath Minister, for ITN. Her impromptu comment of “Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now infected with Salmonella.” Caused a national panic and resulted in eggs sales to drop by 60% almost overnight.

As you may already be aware, the ‘Lion Mark’ was re-instated in 1998. What you may not be aware of is what the logo is fully telling you. Most people see it as a sign of quality. This true to a certain extent, but it also demonstrates that the farm adheres to a stringent Code of Practice; The Lion Quality Code of Practice.

This Code of Practice includes the compulsory vaccination against Salmonella enteritidis along with full traceability of eggs, hens and feed, and periodic audits by an independent party. The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) keep a database of all approved subscribers to the Lion mark scheme and if ever a farm is found to have any critical non-conformances they are immediately suspended from the scheme pending appropriate remedial action. In addition to this there are also financial penalties for critical non-conformities.

The European Food Safety Authority now considers British eggs to be among the safest in the world. This does not mean we are able to start eating raw eggs risk free though. Safety measures should always be implemented when using eggs whether Lion Mark approved or not.

Our golden (eggs) rules:

  • Keep eggs refrigerated: If salmonella is present, by keeping the egg below 7°C slows down the rate at which they multiply.
  • Buy from reputable suppliers: This helps ensure hygiene standards are met and that correct procedures are used.
  • Never use a cracked egg: these are likely to now be contaminated as the shell is no longer protecting the egg contents from external bacteria that maybe present, including Salmonella.
  • Cook thoroughly: Heat is your best method for destroying Salmonella and other bacteria that maybe present.
  • Once cooked serve/eat promptly: As with all other foods that have been cooked, strict time and temperature controls must be used to prevent any bacteria that may still be present from multiplying.
  • Unused/left over foods that contain eggs must be refrigerated: strict time and temperature controls must be used to prevent any bacteria that may still be present from multiplying.
  • Pasteurised eggs should be used for recipes requiring raw eggs e.g. Mayonnaise: Pasteurisation means the egg has been heat treated to eliminate any Salmonella bacteria present to a safer level.
  • Use Lion Marked eggs: this is a simple control to ensure better product safety.

One factor that cannot be avoided is that eggs on sale in the UK are not always from the UK. Simple checks on the packaging and labelling of shell eggs will show the egg was laid from a UK flock. This however, is not so simple when checking the ingredients of a pre made item such as a cake. It is therefore of major importance that all manufacturers take note of their egg suppliers accreditations. This ensures that their products come from the best and safest sources.

For more information on Lion Branding, please visit the British Egg Industry Council website.

 


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