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Consumers can buy Scottish eggs and chicken with confidence, says NFU Scotland

13/12/2023

THE SCOTTISH public can buy Scottish eggs and poultry with trust and confidence, according to NFU Scotland.

However, following a significant rise in cases of the food-borne disease, Salmonella, linked to eggs and poultry meat imported from Poland, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have issued new warnings and advice for the UK. 

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Across Great Britain this year, there have now been more than 200 cases of human food poisoning caused by Salmonella Enteritidis linked to poultry products imported from Poland.

Warnings have been issued to food manufacturers, retailers, caterers, and consumers. A specific warning has been sent by FSA and FSS to local authorities asking its enforcement officers to pay increased attention to businesses importing products of animal origin (POAO), mainly poultry meat and egg products from Poland, and those businesses handling these products at catering, retail or wholesale.  It has also asked local authorities to reiterate the need for any food service companies using Polish poultry products to practice best hygiene at all times.

NFU Scotland’s Poultry Working Group Chair Robert Thompson said: “Millions of Scots enjoy fresh, tasty eggs and chicken every day and our advice to them is that you can buy our products with confidence so make sure you seek out Scottish produce to put on your plate.

“Health and hygiene on Scottish farms, including a programme to vaccinate and test for Salmonella, means our standards remain amongst the highest in the world and all parts of the chain strive to ensure we have only the freshest, safest eggs and chicken available to buy.

“However, identifying the country of origin of chicken and eggs used in food service, catering and manufactured goods, including the sandwich trade, is exceedingly difficult if not impossible. 

“I support recent calls from NFU Scotland for a new labelling initiative backed by Governments, retailers, food processors, the food service sector, catering and consumers to properly recognise the high production standards here and make it easier for all parts of the food chain to support domestic production. A label that could clearly identify food products where more than 50 percent of ingredients had been sourced from outside the UK would allow consumers to make more informed choices.  Many will be unaware that the ‘egg’ in their egg mayonnaise sandwich is all too often imported and processed here in the UK.

“This warning from the FSA and FSS shows why better labelling is important. We understand the FSA is in discussion with officials in Poland and the EU to ensure all necessary steps are taken to improve the safety of poultry and eggs imported from Poland. Until that happens, we are looking for government to take appropriate action to have Polish produce removed from the market.

“We also know that the UK Government will finally introduce the five-times delayedimport controls and border checks on food coming into the UK from the EU in the spring. That delay has been wholly unacceptable and repeatedly challenged by NFU Scotland.  Spring must finally bring the proper checks and controls on imports that have been missing since Brexit and uphold the UK’s high food and feed standards and to protect public health.”

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