Don’t let food poisoning ruin your summer – be safe

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North Lincolnshire Council is supporting Food Safety Week (June 19-25) and is encouraging ‘Safe Summer Eating’.

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning every year1, with E-Coli, Listeria and Salmonella more prevalent in the warmer months. The Food Standards Agency’s latest Food & You research2 indicates there are people who are putting themselves at risk with poor food safety behaviours:

48 per cent reported that they never check their fridge temperature

37 per cent said they did not know what the fridge temperature should be

58 per cent thought the method for defrosting meat or fish was leaving it at room temperature

19 per cent admitted that they eat burgers when pink or when there are red/pink juices

Good food hygiene, through effective implementation of the 4 Cs (chilling, cooking, cleaning and avoiding cross-contamination) can help prevent most forms of food-borne disease.

During Food Safety Week, the council’s Food and Safety team will be going into schools to do talks on washing hands properly. They will also tell them about two competitions taking place for pupils to take part in.

The competitions are:

Draw a germ – for children aged five to seven years old

Complete the anagram/word search - for children aged between seven and 11 years old

All children in these age ranges can take part. The prize for each competition is a Toys R Us voucher.

To enter, visit www.northlincs.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/environmental-health/food-safety/food-safety-week/ and download the forms.

Throughout the summer, Food Standards Agency will provide information on ‘Safe Summer Eating’ focusing on effective chilling (fridge temperature and defrosting practices) and thorough cooking.

What you should know about chilling and defrosting food:

Storing your food properly chilled is one of the best ways to ensure it will be safe to eat.

Make sure your fridge is set to the right temperature – the coldest part should be below 5 degrees Celsius.

Cool cooked foods quickly at room temperature so that they can be stored in the fridge within one to two hours.

Store raw foods separately from cooked foods, covered on the bottom shelf of your fridge.

Do not defrost raw meat or raw meat products at room temperature (as this will increase your chance of getting food poisoning). Ideally food should be defrosted fully in the fridge or if this is not possible, using a microwave on the defrost setting directly before cooking.

Tips on cooking safely:

Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.

Check that food is steaming hot throughout before you eat it, especially meats like poultry, pork and minced products, which need to be cooked thoroughly before eating.

Burgers prepared at home should always be cooked all the way through until steaming hot. They should not be served rare or pink because harmful bacteria may be present in the middle of the burger, causing food poisoning.

Councillor Richard Hannigan, cabinet member for Safer, Greener and Cleaner Places, said: “Ensuring food is stored and cooked properly is vitally important. Cooking safety shouldn’t be ignored as it could lead to someone getting very ill. If you follow the Food Standards Agency simple guidance you can make sure that you eat safely this summer and all year round.

“When it comes to food, think of the four Cs and you won’t be putting yourself or your guests at risk.”