The House of Commons will allow the use of fresh eggs for making scrambled eggs and omelettes from today – a U-turn on previous guidance, which insisted on pasteurised eggs being used.
It comes after the House of Commons drew heavy criticism from MPs and the egg industry last month when it was revealed that pasteurised Dutch egg was being used for dishes that did not reach a temperature of 75 degrees Celsius during cooking, such as scrambled eggs and omelettes.
It provoked fears the policy might give the impression that fresh shell eggs were not safe to use and could lead to another food-safety scare not seen since the Salmonella crisis of the 1980s.
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Fresh Lion-branded British eggs will now be used to prepare dishes including omelettes and scrambled eggs in ‘to-order’ House of Commons catering outlets, following a direction from Sir Robert Rogers, clerk of the House of Commons.
For large-scale production of egg-based dishes, liquid pasteurised egg will continue to be used, but it will now be sourced from British instead of Dutch producers, at an additional cost of £2,000 per annum.
Salmonella poisoning in the UK had 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, said Dr Lisa Ackerley, visiting professor of environmental health at the University of Salford and managing director of Hygiene Audit Systems. “By adopting this approach, the Catering Services can continue to offer a high level of service whilst reducing risks to its customers.”