Eggs recipe

The British Lion Eggs scheme was first launched in 1998

The British Egg Industry Council has unveiled the latest version of the Lion code of practice, as it gears up to mark the 15th anniversary of the scheme.

Version seven of the British Lion eggs code contains updates to reflect new legislation - such as new rules on beak trimming - and tightens inspection criteria in areas including traceability, reporting of antibiotics use, flock inspections and contingency planning. It will also make it mandatory for producers to vaccinate free-range flocks against the typhimurium strain of salmonella.

Vaccination against salmonella enteriditis - which was largely responsible for the salmonella scare of the 1980s - has been mandatory under the Lion code since it launched in 1998.

BEIC CEO Mark Williams said the Lion code had, in effect, eradicated salmonella in UK eggs since its launch, but it was important the industry was not complacent. “The new version of the code is an opportunity for us to update, clarify and, in some areas, tighten what is required.”

In addition to the new audit criteria, the BEIC is looking to introduce a requirement that training for stockpeople be formalised. “Previously, there was just a requirement to train, but we want to create a system that would give more kudos to stockpeople and recognise the skills and training they have,” said Williams.

The BEIC was talking to a number of potential partners - including vets - about how such training could be delivered, with a view to rolling out the scheme over the next few months, he added.

Version seven launches officially on 2 November, and will be enforced as of February 2014.

Since the launch of the Lion scheme 15 years ago, 130 billion Lion eggs have been sold, and about 90% of all UK eggs are now produced under the scheme [BEIC].