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Ban call over salmonella findings

26th June 2006

The UK should ban egg imports after figures revealed high levels of salmonella in some European countries.

A report revealed more than 50 per cent of poultry farms in some EU countries were contaminated with salmonella, sparking calls for a ban on egg imports.

The leaked study, by the European Food Safety Authority, found 62 per cent of farms in the Czech Republic were contaminated, 55 per cent in Poland and 51 per cent in Spain.

In the UK, almost 12 per cent were found to have salmonella contamination - the third lowest in Europe.

The British Egg Industry Council said eggs below standard should be banned.

In total, 85 per cent of the eggs eaten in Britain are produced on UK farms, the remainder are imported from Europe, according to the council.

It is estimated that the vast majority of these imports come from Spain.

In the UK, vets checked more than 400 UK premises, testing dust, bird faeces and other material, the study said - which was revealed to the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Andrew Joret, deputy chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, called for sub-standard eggs to be banned from British shores.

He said the small number of positive samples put the UK's poultry farms among the best in Europe.

Animal Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said the number of reported cases of the disease in humans was at its lowest level since a 1997 peak.

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