A new research paper is set to praise eggs as a natural health food and diet aid, following improvements in safety and nutritional value during the 25 years since the salmonella crisis of 1988.

The paper, entitled Eggs – establishing the nutritional benefits, is due to be published in the December 2013 issue of the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin.

Egg consumption plummeted in the late 1980s when the then junior health minister Edwina Curry told the ITN evening news: “Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now infected with salmonella.”

Her comments, 25 years ago in December, eventually led to salmonella in the UK laying flock being brought under control and the establishment of the British Lion Quality assurance scheme.

The new BNF paper follows the improved nutritional value of eggs and the drop in salmonella contamination. Changes in feed formulation mean a modern egg has 20% less fat, 20% less saturated fat and about 70% more Vitamin D than its 1980s counterpart.

Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, said: “A lot has changed in 25 years. It is fantastic news that diet and health experts now fully recognise the important role eggs can play in a healthy diet and that their consumption should be encouraged and not limited.

“Eggs are unique in terms of their health credentials and, as consumers become more and more aware of their benefits, we expect to see even greater consumption.”

Nutritionist Dr Juliet Gray agreed eggs have an important role to play in a healthy diet, and consumption should be encouraged. “As a completely natural, unprocessed food, their health credentials are pretty much unparalleled,” she added.

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In December, Poultry World will be featuring an interview with Edwina Curry, as well as looking back at the crisis itself. Secure your copy here