Thousands of chickens will be slaughtered to control an outbreak of salmonella that poisoned 250,000 Britons last year and caused egg sales to plummet in a nation known for beginning each day with bacon and eggs, the government said Friday.

Health officials also warned pregnant women Friday against eating soft cheeses, which can be contaminated by listeria, a bacteria that has been blamed for miscarriages and stillbirths.The warnings came as the government announced an inquiry into the extent of food poisoning caused by eating contaminated eggs and cheeses. An advisory committee will "look at the problem of food hygiene," a spokesman for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said.