– Keeping Food Safe –

Last year there were around 100,000 reported cases of food poisoning in the UK, and a recent Government report revealed that reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg – almost 10 million people suffer stomach upsets each year! The theme of this year’s National Food Safety Week is “Keep it Safe”. Guidelines include:

  1. Store foods in the right place…at the right temperature, for the right time.
  2. Put raw meat, poultry or fish at the bottom of the fridge and make sure they can’t drip onto other foods.
  3. Keep all food cupboards clean, cool, tidy and dry.
  4. Keep suitable thermometers in your fridge and freezer and check the temperature at least once a week. The temperature should be: · Fridge – between 0°C and 5°C · Freezer – minus 18°C
  5. Serve hot foods piping hot, and eat as soon as they are ready. If there is a delay between heating and eating, keep food covered and piping hot.
  6. Cover dishes and other open containers with foil or film. Don’t re-use foil or film.
  7. Avoid overloading your fridge. If a fridge is over-packed with food or iced-up it’s harder to keep the temperature down.
  8. No food lasts forever, however well it is stored. Most pre-packed foods carry either a ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Before’ date. Check them carefully.

Did you know…

  • In total, infectious, intestinal disease (i.e. from all causes not just foodborne) cost at least £743 million per year of which £268 million falls on the NHS and around £400 million on industry employees.
  • One food poisoning bacterium can multiply to four million in just eight hours
  • One housefly can carry two million bacteria.
  • Bacteria – even E coli and Salmonella – are killed by thorough cooking.

National Food Safety Week 2000 runs from 12 to 18 June. Working through local environmental health and health promotion departments, schools, hospitals, manufacturers and retailers, it aims to show how to keep our food safe from the time it is bought until it is eaten. The key messages are:

  • Keep food safe
  • Avoid cross-contamination
  • Keep raw and cooked foods apart
  • Wash hands properly before and after touching food
  • Control temperatures
  • Keep kitchens clean; and
  • Avoid waiting times between cooking, preparation and eating.

Minister for Health, Gisela Stuart MP will launch National Food Safety Week on Monday 12 June in London’s Covent Garden. Throughout the UK the key messages will be promoted through fun and entertainment in shopping centres, schools, nurseries, factories – and other more unusual locations. The public will see how not to prepare food; play ‘spot the grot’; and design their own germs. ‘Calamity itchens’, ‘Beastly Barbecues’ and ‘Frightful Fridges’ will be on display throughout the country.

This article was supplied by the Food and Drink Federation (www.foodlink.org.uk Tel: 020 7836 2460) via Advanced Food Safety Limited, international food safety consultants & trainers. (www.food-safety.co.uk Tel: 01257 255910)

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