Local MP says don't make your mealtimes a horror story

June 17, 2008 11:13 AM

Mark is supporting the FSA campaign to help people avoid food poisoning this summer

Cheadle constituency MP Mark Hunter has given his support to the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) GermWatch campaign for Food Safety Week (9th-15th June) which was launch at a reception in the House of Commons.

The GermWatch campaign aims to combat the rise in food poisoning cases, which cost the economy upwards of £1.5billion a year and double in frequency during the summer months. Cases of the top two food poisoning germs (salmonella and campylobacter) are set to soar to more than 120,000 in just three months this summer according to the FSA.

Speaking at the launch Mr Hunter said: "There were over 13,000 cases of salmonella and campylobacter poisoning alone in the North West in the summer months of 2006. Food poisoning is not only unpleasant for everyone who has it but it can also be dangerous for vulnerable groups of people, especially the elderly, pregnant or young children.

It's easy to follow good hygiene practices in the home and the GermWatch campaign has provided simple rules which will remind people to do just that this summer. Food (including BBQ food) needs to be properly cooked so that it is hot throughout, surfaces and hands should be washed before food is prepared, food needs to be kept chilled so keep picnic food in a cool bag, and finally raw meat and poultry should be kept separately from other foods in your fridge and preparation areas. These easy rules will save you and your family from food poisoning this summer."

At the launch Mr Hunter MP heard about the FSA's top tips to avoid meal time horrors this summer. The Agency also introduced a new character "Grubeye" which will be used in advertising and nationwide activities with schools and local authorities. The character will be accompanied by some "Killer Facts" about food poisoning to help dispel the myth that food poisoning only comes from dodgy takeaways.

The latest figures show an increase in annual cases of food poisoning, the first rise in the UK's seen since 2000. Despite this, a recent FSA survey showed that three-quarters of the public had never heard of the most common cause of food poisoning - campylobacter. In fact, 82% of people, and particularly the elderly (87%), think they're unlikely to get food poisoning from food at home. The survey also found: 89% of people don't store raw meat properly and 63% of people don't wash their hands after handling raw meat or fish.

The best way to avoid food poisoning is to follow the 4 Cs: cooking, chilling, cleaning and avoiding cross-contamination. More information can be found on the FSA website: eatwell.gov.uk/germwatch.

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