Are Runny Eggs Back on the Table for Pregnant Women? New Guidelines, Explained

It depends on where you live.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Oct 2017
eggs bennedict
Photo: iStock

Big news for brunch-going moms-to-be: Headlines today are announcing that runny eggs are now deemed safe for pregnant women. But before you scramble to order some eggs over-easy, there’s a few points worth clarifying.

First, this new advisory is for UK moms. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has outlined strict guidelines against the consumption of uncooked or undercooked eggs since a salmonella outbreak in the 1980s, encouraging pregnant women, babies and the elderly, in particular, to steer clear. But after a year-long risk assessment, the FSA says eggs with a stamp of the British Lion are safe to be eaten runny, or even eaten raw.

Second, just because UK moms now have the go-ahead to eat over-easy eggs doesn’t mean US moms do. In America, the FDA still advises that women avoid soft-boiled or over-easy eggs—or any egg where the yolk isn’t fully cooked—because of the potential of harmful bacteria.

“The risk these foods may actually pose depends on the origin or source of the food and how the food is processed, stored, and prepared,” the FDA explains. In other words, eggs pasteurized in the UK aren’t the same as those in the US. In fact, since its salmonella scare almost 30 years ago, the UK has completely revamped its egg-production processes.

“The measures [the FSA] has taken, from vaccination of hens through to improving hygiene on farms and better transportation, have dramatically reduced salmonella levels in UK hens,” FSA chair Heather Hancock says.

“We know that the previous advice has deterred many women from eating eggs when pregnant, and from giving them to their babies,” adds Andrew Joret, chair of the British Egg Industry Council. “The advice is particularly good news for these groups.”

Ever-changing food guidelines can be especially confusing during pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you’re confused about what’s safe and what’s not.

H/T The Guardian

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