British egg industry warns food fraud fines are not strong enough

The British Egg Industry Council is calling for stronger deterrents for food fraud following the news that an egg trader in the Netherlands convicted of fraudulently selling contaminated eggs as fit for human consumption has been fined just €30,000.

The egg trader from Mijnsheerenland in South Holland was also found guilty of selling battery eggs as free range.

Inspections at the company’s warehouse found eggs stamped with fake registration numbers, so their origin could not be determined.

Andrew Joret, British Egg Industry Council chairman, said: “This is a serious offence, with potentially serious food safety implications, so while it’s good to see the producer brought to account for their actions, a relatively small fine serves very little purpose as a preventative measure.

“There simply has to be stronger deterrents in place to discourage food fraud and I would strongly urge UK food businesses to look for the Lion [quality mark].

“Food safety scares linked to non-UK eggs is a recurring issue so we hope it will act as a reminder for more caterers and consumers to look for the additional food safety standards of Lion eggs, which are fully traceable.

“The independently audited British Lion scheme ensures the highest standards of food safety and has a number of stringent processes in place to ensure full traceability. These include mass balance checks, additional auditing, a database of egg movements and on-farm marking.

“The British Lion scheme has effectively eliminated Salmonella from British Lion eggs. In 2017 the Food Standards Agency confirmed that Lion eggs are the only ones that are safe to be consumed runny, or even raw, by everyone including vulnerable groups.”

British Lion

The British Lion Code of Practice is the UK’s most successful food safety scheme. More than 90% of UK eggs are now produced to British Lion standards and more than 150 billion British Lion eggs have been produced since its launch in 1998.

The Lion scheme has effectively eliminated Salmonella from British Lion eggs and, in 2017, the Food Standards Agency confirmed that Lion eggs are the only ones that are safe to be consumed runny, or even raw, by everyone including vulnerable groups.

All eggs that carry the British Lion mark meet the stringent requirements of the British Lion Code of Practice which ensures the highest standards of food safety.

The independently audited code contains strict food safety controls above and beyond EU and UK legislation and covers more than 700 auditable points from Salmonella vaccination to complete traceability of hens, eggs and feed.