Report: Even the Young, Elderly or Pregnant Can Eat Raw Eggs, U.K. Safety Committee Says

Raw eggs
A cracked egg pictured on January 5, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. A report by U.K.’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) said it was now safe to consume raw eggs. A consultation is to follow. Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

It is safe for pregnant women, the young and the elderly to eat raw eggs, according to a report published on Monday by the U.K.’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF). The risk of contracting salmonella, a bacteria that causes severe food poisoning, is now “very low” across the country.  

According to the new report, there has been a "major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in U.K. hen shell eggs" since the last report was released by the ACMSF in 2001.

“In practical terms, the group considered that the ‘very low’ risk level means that U.K. eggs produced under the Lion code, or under demonstrably equivalent comprehensive schemes, can be served raw or lightly cooked to all groups in society, including those that are more vulnerable to infection, in domestic and non-domestic settings, including care homes and hospitals,” it says.

The Lion code requires that all laying hens must be vaccinated against salmonella and also imposes certain welfare and freshness standards on British egg producers.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), the U.K. government department responsible for overseeing food safety, has launched an eight-week consultation following the report’s findings. The ACMSF recommends that the FSA modifies its advice, only warning “severely immunocompromised individuals” against eating raw eggs, rather than all those “vulnerable” to infection.

"The consultation is inviting views on the recommended changes to the FSA's advice from a range of stakeholders, including food and hospitality industries, consumer and enforcement bodies, and health care practitioners," the FSA said.