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Egg Imports (Salmonella)

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the possible risk to (a) domestic consumers and (b) customers of the catering industry arising from the consumption of hens’ eggs imported from countries with high levels of Salmonella infection in flocks; and if she will make a statement. (79206)

All Grade A table eggs from any source, if they are handled, stored and cooked properly, pose very little risk to the consumer. Eggs from overseas contribute only to a small percentage of the United Kingdom egg market.

To assess the risk associated with such eggs, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is carrying out a survey of eggs sourced from outside the UK and on retail sale in Britain. We have also been monitoring the levels of Salmonella in eggs being used in the catering trade. When these surveys are completed the FSA will have a better understanding of the risk associated with the presence of Salmonella in layer flocks. A recent European Union survey of layer flocks has highlighted countries with high levels of Salmonella infection in flocks and of th0se only Spain is a significant exporter of eggs to the UK. Therefore, we are talking to the European Commission and with member states to see what further action can be taken, in the light of the results from the layer flock survey, that will further protect consumers.