Eggs: Salmonella

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that eggs infected with salmonella do not reach consumers.

Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have national programmes to control salmonella in poultry and protect public health, which require regular sampling of laying flocks. Where laying flock samples test positive for regulated strains of salmonella, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will alert the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Public Health England (PHE) and restrictions on the eggs will be put in place to protect public health which will apply for the life of the affected flock. Eggs from such flocks cannot be sold as fresh table eggs, but must be either processed by heat treatment to eliminate salmonella before entering the food chain, or disposed of outside the food chain as Animal by Products.

The General Food Law EU Regulation 178/2002 will be transferred into UK law at the point of exit by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. Inoperabilities in 178/2002 have been addressed by The General Food Law (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. EU Regulation 178/2002 lays down that food placed on the market must be safe to eat - it must not be ‘injurious to health’ or ‘unfit for human consumption’. Food businesses are required to notify the competent authorities, such as the local authority or the FSA, if they suspect that a product placed on the market does not comply with safety requirements. When Salmonella infection is confirmed in a laying flock the FSA works with industry, APHA and local authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken to safeguard public health.

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