Commons reverses ban on fresh eggs
Friday 30th August 2013, 1:41PM BST.
The House of Commons has reversed a ban on using fresh eggs to make MPs’ omelettes – admitting it risked creating a false health scare.
Politicians had objected to what one called the “absurd” policy introduced last month of using only liquid egg because of the risk of salmonella poisoning.
Clerk Robert Rogers has now ordered an immediate u-turn meaning chefs at Westminster’s numerous catering outlets will be supplied with fresh produce for scrambling and omelette-making.
“From September 2, fresh Lion Brand stamped British eggs will be used to prepare omelettes and scrambled eggs in ‘to order’ outlets,” a spokesman said.
“The House of Commons Catering Service has a five star food safety rating and this change of policy remains consistent with these very high standards.”
The authorities said it was acting on concerns the previous policy ” might give the erroneous impression that good quality fresh eggs could not be used for omelettes and scrambled egg”.
They had claimed using liquid egg for dishes which ” do not reach a core temperature of 75 degrees Celsius” (167F) was in line with Food Standard Agency advice.
But the food watchdog insisted there was “no requirement (or guidance) for caterers to use liquid egg rather than fresh eggs where the egg is to be fully cooked”.
The Commons is also to spend around £2,000 a year switching their supply of liquid egg – which will still be used for larger-scale egg dishes “in line with industry best practice” – from Dutch to UK producers..
Dr Lisa Ackerley, visiting Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Salford and Managing Director of Hygiene Audit Systems, said: “Salmonella poisoning in the UK has decreased dramatically in recent years, thanks to the vaccination programme for British eggs, together with good industry practice of using pasteurised eggs for lightly cooked dishes.
“By adopting this approach the Catering Services can continue to offer a high level of service, whilst reducing risks to its customers.”
British Egg Industry Council chairman Andrew Joret said: “This is a victory for common sense.
“We said at the time that the ban on fresh eggs was without foundation and absolutely ridiculous and we are grateful that Sir Robert Rogers has recognised that.
“We’re very pleased that MPs will now be able to enjoy scrambled eggs, safe in the knowledge that they are produced in accordance to the world-leading food safety standards of the British Lion mark.”