Edwina Currie helps launch Lion Code 7

Edwina Currie has helped launch the latest verison of the British Lion code at a photocall in London, almost 25 years to the day after her remarks caused a collapse in the egg industry.

On 3 December 1988 Mrs Currie, speaking as junior health minister, appeared on ITN’s evening news and said: “Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now infected with salmonella.”

Her remarks caused a collapse in consumer confidence, and egg consumption slumped by 50% almost overnight. This resulted in farmers being forced to dump some 400m eggs, and cull around four million birds from the laying flock. The government was forced to introduce a £19m compensation scheme.

Amid threats of legal action and outcry from farming bodies, Mrs Currie resigned from her post two weeks later.

However, in an exclusive interview with Poultry World this month, she stands by her remarks Ð but admits she got the wording wrong.

“I hadn’t made a mistake – not in the substance. I was public health minister. If something wasn’t done during the winter of 1988, I could foresee that we would have an epidemic on our hands in a hot summer – and fingers would be pointed at me,” she said.

She adds in the interview that the egg industry is now “totally on the ball”, and that she gets on well with the British Egg Industry Council.

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