Runny eggs back on the menu after health advice reviewed

Watchdogs have given a clean bill of health to runny eggs putting them back on the menu for toddlers the elderly and pregnant women

For nearly 30 years those vulnerable to infection have been advised against soft-boiled eggs for fear they could contain salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella concerns spiked in the late 1980s in a crisis that saw two million chickens slaughtered and pregnant women told to avoid eating undercooked eggs.

Its experts found that the presence of salmonella in United Kingdom eggs has been dramatically reduced in recent years, and the risks are "very low" for those produced according to food safety controls applied by the British Lion Code of Practice. He said: "This is a real success story for the United Kingdom egg industry".

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said its revised advice that those vulnerable to infection could now safely eat raw or lightly cooked eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice followed a thorough review of new scientific evidence.

Pregnant women, kids and the elderly can now eat runny eggs almost 30 years after a salmonella scare prevented those "vulnerable to infection" from enjoying lightly cooked eggs.

Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, which runs the British Lion scheme, said the advice is a success story for the industry.

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United Kingdom eggs that do not carry the Lion mark, non-hen eggs and eggs from outside the United Kingdom should always be cooked thoroughly for the elderly, pregnant women and other vulnerable people. "The advice is particularly good news for these groups and will also enable care homes to put many traditional egg dishes back on their menus".

Wide-ranging interventions have been installed across the food chain as part of the British Lion scheme, including vaccinating hens, enhanced testing for salmonella, improved farm hygiene and effective rodent control.

Officials said improved vaccinations for hens and better cleanliness on farms had dramatically reduced salmonella levels in United Kingdom hens.

For UK non-Lion, non-hen and eggs from outside the UK, is that they should always be cooked thoroughly for vulnerable people.

Dr Juliet Gray, Registered Nutritionist, said: "The new advice is very welcome news". This assurance to the public, the NFU said, is crucial for long-term public confidence in the safety of British eggs. Eggs are highly nutritious, containing many key nutrients including high quality protein, vitamin D, selenium, iodine, choline and omega-3 fatty acids. "It's only people on strictly medically supervised diets who need to avoid those eggs".

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