Exclusive Julian Hunt Sainsbury is close to cracking the age old problem of how to make raw eggs safe for pregnant women, children and the elderly. The multiple is working with a leading supplier to develop a completely natural process that will allow eggs to be pasteurised in their shells. Its food safety experts, led by company microbiologist Alec Kryiakides, are confident the research will result in eggs that are safe to eat raw. And that means pregnant women and other groups at risk from salmonella could soon get a chance to eat them lightly cooked or raw in products such as mayonnaise. Kryiakides would not provide details of the new process, which is being developed with heavy funding from Sainsbury. But he said it was based on existing technology used in another field that Sainsbury wanted to adapt and scale up for use in egg production. "There has been some similar research on inshell pasteurised eggs carried out in the US, but this is not the same process," he said. Should trials prove a success, the eggs would be sold alongside conventional eggs. The development work is being carried out on the back of Sainsbury's efforts to introduce a flash pasteurisation process to steam clean the surface of its fresh beef to remove harmful bacteria. A similar technology is being developed for chickens. lSee analysis, page 20 {{NEWS }}