FSA to reconsider stance on raw eggs for pregnant women

Raw eggs

The Food Standards Agency is to review its advice on raw eggs for those “vulnerable” to infection such as pregnant women.

The FSA and NHS’ existing guidelines recommend that uncooked or only lightly cooked eggs can cause food poisoning, especially in people within an “at risk” group, and therefore this group should opt for pasteurised eggs where possible and cook them thoroughly.

But a new report from the Advisory Committee claims this should be reviewed, on account of the significant drop in the risk of salmonella poisoning – especially in eggs produced under the Lion code.

 

Consumers that currently fall into the “at risk” category include:

Pregnant women

The elderly

Babies and toddlers

People who are already unwell

 

The 10-week public consultation on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) was launched in February by the FSA and is the first report of its kind in the last 15 years.

Food Standards Agency logo

The report states: “It was the strong view of the working group that there has been a major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs since the 2001 ACMSF report. This is especially the case for those eggs produced under the Lion code quality assurance scheme.”

It went on the say that eggs produced under the Lion code or similar schemes “can be served raw or lightly cooked to all groups in society, including those that are more vulnerable to infection, in domestic and non-domestic settings, including care homes and hospitals.”

However, the FSA added that this amendment does not include “severely immunocompromised individuals” and has now launched an additional eight-week consultation based on the ACMSF’s findings.

The FSA stated: “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.”

 

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