July 31 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 16, 2014
“You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. And at its worst, it can kill you”.
That is the stark message behind a campaign at the centre of this year’s Food Safety Week (June 16-22) as the government and local authorities fight against the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.
About a quarter of a million people in the UK could be struck down by campylobacter this year.
The campaign – spearheaded by the Food Standards Agency with support from local authorities including Uttlesford District Council – aims to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem.
Farmers and producers will be asked to work harder to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry. Consumers will be able see the latest data and be the judges of any progress, or lack of progress, that they make.
Local authorities, all the major supermarkets and key partners will be working together to make sure people know how to stay safe.
Bob Martin, head of foodborne disease strategy at the Food Standards Agency said: “This is a serious problem and we are calling on the whole industry to do act together to tackle Campylobacter. People in Uttlesford can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.”
Cllr Susan Barker, cabinet member for environmental services at UDC, said: “It is important that we do our part to make sure that people know to handle and cook food safely for themselves and for their families.
“We’re proud to be keeping people in Uttlesford safe and well by being part of this campaign to spread the word – and not the germs.”
Advice is available at food.gov.uk/chicken
• Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after consuming contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting.
• It can last for between two and 10 days and can be particularly severe in small children and the elderly.
• About four in five cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry. One of the main ways to get and spread campylobacter poisoning is through touching raw chicken. FSA advice is not to wash raw chicken. Germs can be spread to kitchen surfaces, clothing and utensils.
• On a quarterly basis over the next year, the FSA will release the results of tests carried out on about 1,000 samples of chicken being sold by UK retailers. The information published for each sample will include details about where the chicken was bought, the abattoir that processed it, whether or not the sample contained campylobacter and if so, how heavily it was contaminated.