Pregnant women are safe to eat raw and runny eggs, according to a food safety committee.
A report from the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food states there is “very low” risk of salmonella from UK eggs produced under the Lion code.
“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,” the report states.
“In practical terms, the group considered that the ‘very low’ risk level means that UK eggs can be served raw or lightly cooked to all groups in society, including those that are more vulnerable to infection (pregnant women, the young and the elderly).”
However, Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives said she is concerned the report may be “confusing” for pregnant women.
The report states that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) should amend its advice on the consumption of eggs for “vulnerable” groups.
The FSA’s advice historically has been that “eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked” may cause food poisoning for women who are pregnant.
Following on from the report the agency has launched an eight-week consultation.
“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,” a spokesperson from the FSA said, according to PA.
On its website, updated in light of the report, the FSA states: “At present, the FSA’s advice to consumers is that eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs, may cause food poisoning and warns vulnerable groups against eating them.”
Silverton told The Huffington Post UK: “While this latest evidence from the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food says that the risks are greatly reduced, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) continues to recommend that vulnerable groups including pregnant women do not eat raw or lightly cooked eggs, or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs.
“The RCM will continue to support this position.
“We await the conclusion of the FSA’s consultation and would call for the analysis of the consultation to be done swiftly, to provide clarity and clear guidance for women and other groups about this issue.”