June 2017

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Published on 19 June 2017

Eat safe this summer

Teignbridge is backing a new campaign which aims to help people better understand the ‘4Cs’ of food hygiene: Chilling, Cooking, Cleaning and avoiding Cross-Contamination.

Over the summer months, the Food Standards Agency is raising awareness about safe summer food and it gets underway with Food Safety Week starting on Monday 19 June 2017.

New research indicates that people in the South West could be putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning through a lack of knowledge about how to treat food, especially in the summer months when people tend to have more barbecues and picnics.

The Food Standards Agency’s Food and You Survey, which collects information on food safety through 3,118 interviews across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that in the South West:

• Almost half (46%) of respondents said they did not know what the fridge temperature should be, suggesting that many people’s fridges may not be between the recommended 0 and 5°C.

• 49% thought the correct method for defrosting meat or fish was leaving it at room temperature, despite recommendations to defrost meat or fish in the fridge or microwave - putting themselves at higher risk of food poisoning as germs multiply more quickly at room temperature.

• A fifth of respondents (22%) said that they don’t use different chopping boards for different foods, which increases the risk of cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods.

Teignbridge’s Food, Health and Safety Officers will be visiting commercially-organised events throughout the summer months to ensure food storage, preparation and cooking of food meets food law standards and is safe for everyone to eat.

Over the last 12 months Teignbridge received 165 notifications of residents who have suffered from symptoms of Campylobacter, a foodborne illness which is associated with the handling of raw poultry meat and the consumption of undercooked white meats.

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said:

“The 'safe summer food' aims to encourage better hygiene practices for when the weather warms up because this is also when the risk of getting food poisoning goes up.

"Food safety experts advise that good food hygiene can help prevent most forms of food-borne disease. This can be done through effective chilling and cooking, and using different chopping boards to prevent cross-contamination. Regular hand washing is also a key control against cross-contamination too.

“These figures show there's still more that people can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this summer. That's why Teignbridge is working with the Food Standards Agency promote good hygiene practices during Food Safety Week."

Food Safety Week (19 June to 25 June) is an annual event held to promote the importance of good food hygiene in the home. For tips on how to stay safe visit: www.food.gov.uk/safe-summer-food