Raw and runny eggs are safe to eat, says food safety watchdog
For everyone who likes to start the day with an egg, this week’s news from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is smashing.
In an update to its published advice on eating eggs, the FSA has confirmed that infants, children, pregnant women and older people can now eat raw or lightly cooked eggs safely, as long as the eggs have been produced under the British Lion scheme.
More than nine out of every ten UK eggs are produced under this food safety scheme, identifiable by the familiar Lion mark. Thanks to the mark, the risk of contracting salmonella from UK eggs has been dramatically reduced. Salmonella causes symptoms including diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever and, on average, it takes from 12 to 72 hours after eating infected food for the symptoms to develop.
The new advice has been issued following consultation with an expert group on egg safety. In 2016 each British consumer ate an average of 193 eggs a year, so the advice is sure to be widely welcomed at breakfast tables across the country.
However, the change in FSA advice does not apply to people who follow medically supervised diets, or whose immune systems are severely compromised. The FSA also still advises everyone to be careful with raw or runny eggs and to follow these good practices in the kitchen:
- always store eggs safely in a cool, dry place (such as the fridge);
- always ensure there is no risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen – clean the work surfaces, dishes and utensils, and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling eggs; and
- always observe the ‘best before’ dates on the eggs.