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The Lion Roars

In 2013 we can celebrate a strange silver anniversary.

It may be odd to celebrate a food safety calamity that almost wiped out an industry and tarred a nation with the brush of unsafe food. What we do today is the result of new laws and changes in food safety management systems that have stemmed from one moment in time in 1988.

In an effort to head off the threat of a looming public health crisis a junior health minister spoke to the media about the need to cook eggs correctly to stop salmonella. Edwina Curry had good intentions.

However overnight the public stopped eating eggs. The British Government started to re-write the laws on food safety and the UK food industry started on the long road to improve its approach to food safety.

The British egg industry took 10 years to recover from the shock. Once it had developed a system of food safety control and management it drove down salmonella levels to almost zero.

It branded the products.

It reaped the rewards and became one of the most trusted food brands.

This year it introduced the seventh version of the British Lion Code of Practice.

It has added additional elements of control targeting Salmonella Typhimurium in its vaccination program. It has added new elements to its audit and inspection regime.

It has also taken account of recent public concerns about fraud.

How does anyone produce fraudulent eggs?

They do it badly, they do it cheaply and then put a false logo on it.

They put a layer of Lion eggs on top of unmarked layers of cheap imported salmonella contaminated eggs and try to fulfill contracts stipulating Lion Quality eggs.

As Mark Williams the chief Executive of the British Egg industry council said recently you cannot stand still you must keep moving forward to maintain and improve standards….and protect your brand.

But what of Edwina Curry?

As with many brave whistle blowers she lost her job

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