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Stick to Lion mark eggs given salmonella outbreak, BEIC roars

2 commentsBy Graham Holter , 25-Jul-2011
Last updated on 25-Jul-2011 at 15:04 GMT

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) is advising food manufacturers and caterers to stick to British eggs bearing the Lion mark, after a new salmonella scare linked to Spanish eggs.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has linked outbreaks of salmonella in northwest England and the West Midlands to contaminated Spanish eggs. Almost 140 people have been affected.

The bug, S. Enteritidis PT 14b, involves eggs from a single supplier in Spain, the HPA believes, which were mainly supplied to catering establishments.

The agency has been in touch with the Spanish authorities, which are now said to be heat-treating eggs to kill any salmonella that could be present. Investigations in the UK are continuing but all supplies linked to the Spanish producer have been taken out of circulation.

Cross-contamination

The BEIC told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the risk to food manufacturers is smaller, due to pasteurisation of eggs during the processing of products such as mayonnaise. However, the council warned that eggs carrying salmonella could cause cross-contamination problems in food factories.

Highlighting previous issues with Spanish eggs, the council said in a statement: “The outbreak follows a fatal outbreak of salmonella food poisoning in 2002, which was also linked to Spanish eggs.

“In 2004, Spanish eggs were linked to a food poisoning outbreak at a café in central London, with one third of the Spanish eggs used by the café testing positive for salmonella.

“An outbreak in a restaurant in Kent in 2005 was also linked to Spanish eggs after owners purchased a batch of Spanish eggs from an unapproved supplier.”

‘Infected, imported eggs’

The BEIC also cited the 2009 salmonella outbreak in England, which involved a strain of salmonella, S. Enteritidis PT 14b, which has not been found in egg-laying flocks in the UK.

The British Lion code of practice includes vaccination of hens against salmonella. BEIC chairman Andrew Parker said: “It is unbelievable that British consumers are still being put at risk by imported eggs.

“There are plenty of high quality British eggs available, yet UK caterers think that it’s OK to risk their customers’ health by buying cheap, infected, imported eggs.”

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2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Spanish eggs

I agree that some other countries also have good controls but most of these are net importers. With the exception of the Dutch producing for the German market, the principal EU exporters are Spain and Poland. The latest EFSA data shows that Spain and Poland have failed to deal with salmonella in the way the UK has. Food safety and traceability means the Lion is a must for UK users of egg. Next to this you have compliance with the 2012 legislation on welfare. Lion production will meet EU law whereas up to 25% of other EU production will remain in illegal battery cages.

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Posted by Nick Bailey
26 July 2011 | 16h14

Spanish eggs

I don't think it is necessary to say that the British need to buy British Lion eggs to be safe. French eggs for example are perfectly safe: France also has very stringent controls in place.

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Posted by Tonia HEANEY
25 July 2011 | 14h46