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Absurd! Ridiculous! Ludicrous! Crackers! And thankfully short-lived. But what could cause such outrage and eggcitement and take tempers to boiling point?
We had some unusually hot weather here in the UK during August, and reading press headlines it seems it went to the heads of some committee members at the House of Commons -- the UK parliament’s lower chamber.
In its wisdom, the committee decided that use of fresh eggs in omelets and some other egg based dishes served to members of parliament should be banned, due to the risk of Salmonella. Understandably, the decision caught the eye of the national press and stuck in throats of the country’s egg producers.
Despite the country’s Food Standards Agency stating the ban was unnecessary, the country’s representatives needed a level of protection from eggs, it seemed, that was not afforded to the wider population. So much for the Mother of Democracy, as the UK institution is sometimes referred to!
The British Egg Industry Council weighed into the debate saying: “The British Lion food safety scheme has been widely praised by government and food safety experts for effectively eliminating salmonella from British eggs so the decision is bizarre.”
The ban, however, was short-lived, and overturned in early September with the House of Commons Catering Service deciding that fresh Lion brand eggs could be used to prepare omelets and scrambled eggs in "'[made] to order outlets', while for large-scale production of egg-based dishes, liquid pasteurized egg would continue to be used in line with industry best practice.”
And UK egg producers may actually have gained from the episode of summer madness. Along with the reversal of the ban came a commitment from the catering service to use British egg products rather than imported ones, as had been the case for some of the dishes prepared for the elected house.
Perhaps fearful of a repeat of the damage done to the egg industry by 1980s minister “Eggwina” Currie’s pronouncements on Salmonella, various industry bodies have described the U-turn as “common sense”.