Foodservice must follow the example set by retailers and source eggs from Britain in the wake of this week's salmonella scare, British Lion has claimed.

The FSA and Health Protection Agency said they were looking into a 223% surge in cases of salmonella enteritidis, which were linked to Spanish eggs in the catering sector.

The FSA said 14 clusters of cases in England and Wales were being investigated for a common source of infection. Some 443 cases have been reported so far this year.

Hens producing eggs under the Lion scheme have been vaccinated against salmonella since 2000, Andrew Parker, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, pointed out.

"All major UK retailers specify British Lion eggs and it is time caterers took responsibility for buying eggs [from the UK as they offer] an impeccable safety profile," he said.

The BEIC has also criticised the FSA for failing to encourage caterers to use Lion eggs. "We don't want subsidies but I wish we could get more verbal support," Parker added, arguing that cases of salmonella would continue as long as caterers sourced the cheapest eggs possible.

Britain's largest egg packer, Noble Foods, echoed calls for more British sourcing in foodservice. The company this week announced it would only use Lion eggs for products processed in its Egg Products Division from January 2010.

"Being able to trace eggs back to the farm is something that is extremely important and we want to be able to give this reassurance to all our customers," said sales and marketing director Ian Jones.