Keep food poisoning off your dinner table
September 30, 2009
Most cases of food poisoning happen in the home.
That’s according to Reading’s Consumer Protection team which is promoting the campaign called GermWatch, warning people about the danger of germs in the home.
The team deals with around 200 cases of food-related illnesses each year.
There are thought to be about 850,000 cases of food poisoning every year in the UK but many are not reported.
Most people have suffered up to a week of sickness, diarrhoea and severe stomach cramps.
The GermWatch campaign, which is being run by the Food Standards Agency, centres on four key messages – the four Cs – cleaning, cooking, chilling and cross-contamination:
- Cleaning – people should wash and dry their hands thoroughly before preparing food, after touching raw food (especially meat) and after going to the toilet. Also keep worktops, chopping boards and utensils clean and change dishcloths and tea towels regularly.
- Cooking – always follow instructions, check food is steaming hot in the middle, don’t reheat food more than once and, when reheating, make sure the food is cooked all the way through. People should pay particular attention when cooking poultry, pork, burgers and sausages. If there’s any pink meat or juices, germs could be lurking.
- Chilling – keep fridges at the right temperature which is between 0C and 5C. Keep the door closed as much as possible and wait for food to cool before putting in the fridge. Some germs can grow in the fridge so eat leftovers within two days and check ‘use by’ dates.
- Cross contamination – to stop germs spreading keep raw meat separate from ready to eat food. Wash chopping board and knife thoroughly after cutting raw meat.
There’s more helpful hints on www.eatwell.gov.uk.
As another part of its food safety work, Reading’s Consumer Protection team runs regular courses for local businesses. For more details, call (0118) 939 0465 or check out www.reading.gov.uk.
Information about similar training provided locally can be found at www.cieh-coursefinder.com.