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.
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.