We all love it when the weather gets warmer. But did you know that you might need to think harder about food safety in the summer months?
New research indicates that people in the West Midlands could be putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning through lack of knowledge of the 4Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cooking, Cleaning and cross-contamination.
The Food Standards Agency’s Food and You Survey, which collects information on food safety through 3,118 interviews across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that in the West Midlands:
- 53% of respondents said that they never check their fridge temperature and 45% said they did not know what the fridge temperature should be, suggesting that many people’s fridges may not be between the recommended 0 and 5°C.
- 66% thought the correct method for defrosting meat or fish was leaving it at room temperature, putting themselves at higher risk of food poisoning as germs multiply more quickly at room temperature.
- 20% of respondents said that they don’t use different chopping boards for different foods, which increases the risk of cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods.
- There are still a high proportion of people eating meat that is pink or has pink/red juices, against recommended guidelines and 11% do not always cook food until it is steaming hot throughout.
- Respondents do not always wash their hands before starting to prepare food, despite the FSA’s recommendation that people wash their hands thoroughly before cooking and after touching the bin, going to the toilet, handling pets or handling raw food.
Muriel Davis, Portfolio Leader for Health and Wellbeing said: “These figures suggest there's more that people in Cannock Chase could do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this summer. For example, planning ahead and defrosting meat or fish in the fridge, cooking meat thoroughly and always washing hands before preparing food can reduce the risk of food poisoning. That's why Cannock Chase Council’s Food and Safety Team is working with the Food Standards Agency to promote good hygiene practices during Food Safety Week (19 – 25 June). This year the week aims to encourage better hygiene practices for summer, when the risk of getting food poisoning goes up. We want our residents to enjoy the warmer weather and stay safe and well.”
For tips on how to stay safe this summer visit: https://www.food.gov.uk/safe-summer-food