Pregnant women can safely eat lightly cooked or raw eggs from the UK, according to a new report. The report from the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food states that eggs produced under the Lion code are very unlikely to contain salmonella.
It has now recommended that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) change its advice eating eggs for those vulnerable to infection, such as pregnant women. The FSA advice has been that eating raw or lightly cooked eggs may cause food poisoning but it is now reviewing that.
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.
“In practical terms, the group considered that the ‘very low’ risk level means that UK eggs produced under the Lion code, or under demonstrably equivalent comprehensive 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.”
The committee added the recommendation was not intended to include “severely immunocompromised individuals”, but did include “vulnerable groups in general including pregnant women, the young and the elderly”.
The Chief Medical Officer and the FSA have previously highlighted the risk associated with eating raw and lightly-cooked eggs and issued public health advice on their safe handling and use.
But the FSA has now launched an eight-week consultation based on the outcome of the report.
A statement from the FSA said: “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.”