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Watercress Lane calls for duck egg standard

22 September 2010

Responding to the recent, duck-egg linked, salmonella outbreak, Watercress Lane has called for tougher controls to give consumers guaranteed safety and quality

Watercress Lane has developed its own 'Blue Duck' quality assurance scheme to provide consistently high standards of freshness, food safety and animal welfare and believes that a duck egg equivalent of the British Lion mark is now vital to regulate production and protect the public.

"Currently, we stamp our eggs with dates and batch numbers to ensure their traceability," said Melandy Daniels, Company Manager of Watercress Lane. "If every producer operated under stringent controls similar to those we have developed with the 'Blue Duck' accreditation then this outbreak would have been far less likely to have happened"

"You should always be sensible about cooking any egg," said Ms Daniels, "but, with the right conditions and controls, there should be no more danger from duck eggs than from any other. We collect our eggs first thing every morning and carefully check them for even the faintest crack or abnormality as part of the grading process.

"Traceability is essential to give consumer guarantees, which is why we are so proud of the progress we have made since implementing the Blue Duck scheme. But not all duck eggs are covered by this safeguard and I am sorry for the people who have suffered as a result."

The 'Blue Duck' system means every duck is vaccinated and has access to innovative water areas so that the bedding straw is kept clean and there is less risk of cross contamination from the environment.

Eggs are independently tested every month and produced under a stringent Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. The eggs are washed and sanitised rather than bleached so that the waxy cuticle remains to protect against infection and, most importantly, the 'Blue Duck' guarantees rigorous animal welfare, bio security and environmental enrichment standards to ensure the health of the flock.

By setting rigorous standards to ensure the safety of its product, and despite the recent salmonella outbreak, Watercress Lane has gone a long way to proving that duck eggs can be as reliable as hen eggs.

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