A council is joining a campaign to help improve food hygiene standards.
The fight against campylobacter is at the centre of this year’s Food Safety Week (16-22 June), which Central Bedfordshire Council is supporting.
About a quarter of a million people in the UK could be struck down by campylobacter this year - this is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK which you can see, smell it or even taste it on food. At its worst, it can be fatal.
The council is supporting the Food Standards Agency’s campaign 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 councils, all the major supermarkets and key partners will be working together to make sure people know how to stay safe. Advice is available at www.food.gov.uk/chicken
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 Central Bedfordshire can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.”
To protect consumers from the risk of infection from Campylobacter, the Food Safety team at the council aim to ensure that food businesses are aware of and have in place simple but critical preventative measures that will control the risk during their routine food safety inspection work.
These simple but important measures include:
•Keeping cooked food separated from raw meat and poultry
•Storing raw foods in a covered container and below cooked or ready-to-eat foods to prevent contamination within the refrigerator
•Cooking food thoroughly, especially meat, so that it is steaming hot all the way through reaching a core temperature of 70°C for two minutes, as this will destroy any Campylobacter
•Keeping all kitchen surfaces and equipment including knives, chopping boards and dish cloths clean
•Not washing raw meat under the tap or in the sink. This practice may simply spread the bacteria around the kitchen, cross contaminating equipment or surfaces.
•Food handlers washing their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.