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 East Midlands could be putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning through lack of knowledge of the four Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cooking, Cleaning and avoiding Cross-contamination.
The advice comes as the Food Standards Agency’s Food Safety Week gets under way on Monday 19 June.
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 East Midlands:
- 47 per cent of respondents said that they never check their fridge temperature and 45 per cent 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.
- 44 per cent 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.
- More than half of respondents (49 per cent) 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.
- Only 70 per cent of people in the East Midlands always cooked food until it was steaming hot throughout. This is the lowest proportion in the country.
- A third (35 per cent) washed raw chicken at least sometimes. Washing chicken risks spreading bacteria and should be avoided.
Councillor Alison Smith, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community Services at North West Leicestershire Council, said: “These figures show that there's more that people in the East Midlands could do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this summer.
“That's why North West Leicestershire is working with the Food Standards Agency to promote good hygiene practices during Food Safety Week.
“This year the week aims to encourage better hygiene practices for summer, when the risk of getting food poisoning goes up”
For tips on how to stay safe this summer visit: www.food.gov.uk/safe-summer-food