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Pregnant women can now safely eat raw eggs, according to report

But the FSAI advice remains to cook eggs thoroughly for all “vulnerable groups”.

Image: Shutterstock/Samuel Borges Photography

PREGNANT WOMEN CAN now safely eat raw eggs, according to a new report in Britain.

The report from the UK’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) states that the risk of salmonella in eggs produced to UK standards is “very low”.

It recommends that the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) considers amending its advice on the consumption of eggs for those vulnerable to infection, such as pregnant women.

Its previous advice has been that eating raw or lightly cooked eggs may cause food poisoning.

The advice from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland remains that: “Eggs and egg dishes must always be cooked thoroughly for vulnerable groups, such as the frail elderly, the sick, infants, small children and pregnant women.”

TheJournal.ie has asked the FSAI whether their advice will change in line with the UK report.

The UK report says: “It was the strong view of the working group that there has been a major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs since the 2001 ACMSF report.

This is especially the case for those eggs produced under the Lion code quality assurance scheme.

“In practical terms, the group considered that the ‘very low’ risk level means that UK 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.”

Immunocompromised

The committee adds that the recommendation is not intended to include “severely immunocompromised individuals”.

It does, however, include “vulnerable groups in general including pregnant women, the young and the elderly”.

Like the FSAI, the UK’s FSA had previously highlighted the risk associated with eating raw and lightly cooked eggs.

FSA advice has always been that “eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs may cause food poisoning”.

It has launched an eight-week consultation on the matter.

Read: Book claims conventional pregnancy ‘wisdom’ is wrong

Read: Children of women who gain excess weight during pregnancy are more likely to be obese

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