UK egg producers have called on the government to ban the import of eggs unless they have been produced to the same standards for Salmonella.

The call was prompted by the publication of the first survey of EU flocks.

The EU survey tested the environment, not hens or eggs, on egg layer flock holdings throughout the EU between October 2004 and September 2005.

It revealed that nearly 90% of UK units were completely free of salmonella and the small number of positive samples put the UK among the best in Europe.

However, several other European countries have experienced continued outbreaks of salmonella and during the past two years there have been outbreaks among humans in the UK directly linked with imported eggs.

“The stringent biosecurity measures required by the Lion Code of Practice continue to ensure the highest safety standards for British Lion eggs and we are continuing to improve these still further,” said Andrew Joret, deputy chairman of the British Egg Industry Council.

“We believe that imports of eggs into the UK should be banned unless they have been produced to the standards required by the British Lion scheme, including vaccination of hens against salmonella, a best-before date on every egg and full traceability of eggs, hens and feed.”