An EU regulation banning the direct sale of untreated eggs from farms where salmonella has been detected has come into force from 1 January - a year earlier than originally planned.

The move follows reports of high salmonella outbreaks in recent years.

Under the European Commission's new regulation, eggs must be processed as egg products and pasteurised in order to reduce consumer risks before going on sale to the public.

Only Croatia, Norway and Switzerland have provided full safety guarantees and may export "table eggs" to the EU.

Monitoring for salmonella in laying hens has been required in the EU since the beginning of 2008 but this is the first actual sales restriction to be applied.