12 January - 20 June 2016

Food safety

04 June 14

Don't wash raw chicken is the latest message to the public from the FSA

For this year's Food Safety Week running 16 - 22nd June, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be focusing on the message: Don't wash raw chicken. Reducing foodborne illness is a high priority for the FSA, and this latest campaign message aims particularly at food poisoning caused by campylobacter bacteria found on poultry meat. Campylobacter present on the raw chicken will be killed when it is cooked; however, washing the chicken may lead to the bacteria spreading elsewhere before this occurs. Campylobacter may be splashed from the chicken onto hands, work surfaces, kitchen equipment and the surroundings, leading to cross-contamination and more opportunity for people to consume them and become ill.

The FSA's UK-wide campaign will involve local authorities, farmers, slaughterhouses and retailers in an attempt to increase awareness and encourage best practice in tackling campylobacter from farm to fork. [FSA]

Research into food safety in the home among over-60s

Results from a study conducted by the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care at the University of Hertfordshire have just been published, reporting on the kitchen habits of a selection of households and the implications of these habits for the spread of foodborne illness (FBI). The study focused on a small number (10) of households with residents of 60+ years, citing recent increases in listeriosis cases amongst this demographic as a reason for focusing on it. Researchers observed the participants’ behaviour preparing food, examined photographs of their kitchens and interviewed them informally in an attempt to accurately document their real kitchen habits (previous studies have shown that what people report in this area is not always accurate.)

Reporting on the study has focused on particularly risky practice and/or lack of knowledge demonstrated in areas such as refrigeration and when to wash fruit and vegetables. Participants tended not to know what temperature their fridge was or should be set to or where best to store items. It was also noted that many factors contributed to changes in food practices in this demographic, from increased physical frailty to, to input (potentially conflicting) from relative and carers, to bereavement and living alone, meaning that determining how best to correct risky behaviours may be complex. [HealthCanal]

Reduce the danger of botulism from vacuum-packed fish by removing packaging before thawing

Researchers at Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) have called for food service employees and consumers to take more care when thawing vacuum-packed fish by ensuring that the packaging is opened beforehand. This is advised because in the low-oxygen environment inside the sealed packaging, the anaerobic bacteria Clostridium botulinum can produce toxins that cause botulism, once temperatures rise above around 3°C.

The MSUE scientists advised that vacuum-packed fish should always be stored at the advised temperature and kept frozen until it is to be used, then removed from the packaging before thawing according to the guidelines provided. Thawing in an environment with normal oxygen levels should prevent the Clostridium botulinum spores from producing the dangerous toxin.

Head of horsemeat review warns that cost-cutting in trading standards could lead to danger

The Mirror reports on comments made by Professor Chris Elliott - head of the Institute for Global Food Security and leader of the review into the 2013 horsemeat scandal - regarding the dangers posed by Trading Standards budget cuts.

Professor Elliott warned that reductions in the numbers of trading standards officer, inspections, and labelling checks could have serious food safety and public health repercussions if supply chains are compromised.

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry