The "National Scandal" of low hygiene standards across Britain has led the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to mull putting together a television advertising campaign in a bid to re-educate the public on hygiene and food safety issues.

The poor standards were uncovered by a survey of 2,000 British adults, conducted by the Foodlink Campaign. Its results suggested that nearly one third of men and over one in six women often do not wash their hands after going to the toilet. Furthermore, around 50% of the population does not clean up before eating food.

"Handling food with dirty hands is asking for trouble. Food poisoning is still a big problem in the UK and the simple step of washing our hands will help us reduce the risks. It is not just your own dangerous bugs that may come back to bite, you can hand them on to everyone else," stressed Sir John Krebs, chairman of the FSA.

The agency has revealed that to cope with the extreme level of unhygienic practices, around £6m is needed to spend on publicity and education programmes across the country, in homes and food outlets.