THE Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued an alert following a rise in cases of salmonella poisoning linked to poultry products imported from Poland.

This year, more than 200 human cases of salmonellosis have been caused by specific genetic strains of Salmonella Enteritidis that have been linked to poultry products such as meat and eggs.

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The FSA said it was “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.

It added: “The forthcoming import controls on food and feed coming into the UK from the EU will also allow us to check these controls are in place and help to uphold the UK’s high food and feed standards and to protect public health.”

Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA, said several cases involved the consumption of Polish eggs used in meals in restaurants or cafes.

Hygeine

“We are therefore asking local authorities to remind food businesses about the importance of good hygiene practices.”

The FSA advised that consumers practice good hygiene when preparing poultry products and that babies, children, pregnant women, and older people should only eat runny or raw eggs if they have a British Lion mark or are produced under the Laid in Britain egg assurance scheme.

The British Poultry Council’s chief executive Richard Griffiths said:

BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “We have long established and rigorous processes to deal with salmonella, and we follow these to the letter to produce food that people trust and value. It is disappointing that Poland are unable to do the same, and are willing to export their hygiene problems instead of dealing with them.

“It is positive to see the FSA highlight the importance of introducing full import controls on food and feed coming into the UK from the EU. It is vital that controls on imports are introduced as a matter of justice to British poultry meat businesses upholding the standards that define our production system. Controls protect consumers and businesses from the risks posed by imports produced to lower standards. The sooner they are fully implemented the better.

“In the meantime we want to see authorities stopping to check every single load that comes in from Poland, and rejecting those that do not meet requirements.”