Vulnerable Britons, including pregnant women, children and elderly people, have been told to avoid eating runny eggs that have been imported from overseas.
The warning comes as supermarkets are seeking to plug gaps in the supply of British eggs by temporarily sourcing eggs from outside the UK.
The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) is urging vulnerable groups to check the labelling cartons before cooking eggs soft-boiled, sunny side up, poached, or any method that results in runny eggs.
This is because the Food Standards Agency does not recommend that pregnant women, children and infants, and elderly people eat raw or lightly cooked eggs that are not produced under the British Lion Code of Practice
A spokesperson for the BEIC told The Telegraph: “It is very disappointing to see foreign eggs on supermarket shelves. All our research shows that British consumers want and expect eggs to be home produced which offer them the highest standards.
“It is important that retailers clearly mark imported eggs so that consumers can see the country of origin and are aware that, unlike British Lion eggs, they are not Food Standards Agency-approved to be eaten runny by all vulnerable groups.”
The BEIC urged anyone preparing food for these groups to look for British Lion eggs if they plan to cook them runny. If British Lion eggs are unavailable, any imported eggs should be cooked thoroughly for vulnerable eaters
Egg shortages have hit some supermarkets as the UK faces its largest-ever bout of bird flu. Outbreaks on poultry or egg farms mean all birds in the affected area must be destroyed, which has led to fewer eggs in the supply chain.
Asda and Lidl are rationing the number of cartons of eggs that customers can buy, while Waitrose is “continuing to monitor customer demand”.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s confirmed that it has been importing eggs from Italy to temporarily meet demand and reassures customers that the source country is “clearly labelled on the packaging”.Andrew Opie, from the British Retail Consortium, said in a statement: “While avian flu has disrupted the supply of some egg ranges, retailers are experts at managing supply chains and are working hard to minimise impact on customers.”