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Food Safety Week

Published: 16/06/2014

Do you remember the London 2012 opening ceremony and the Olympic stadium filled to bursting point with spectators? Now try and envisage a six nation’s rugby match at the Millennium Stadium filled to capacity and multiplied by three. That’s about a quarter of a million people. That’s how many people in the UK could be struck down by campylobacter this year. The fight against Campylobacter will be at the centre of this year’s Food Safety Week (16-22 June). Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, it can kill you. The Food Safety Association is spearheading a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem. Farmers and producers will be asked to work harder to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry. Consumers will be able to see the latest data and be the judges of any progress, or lack of progress, that they make. Local authorities, all the major supermarkets and key partners will be working together to make sure people know how to stay safe. Advice is available at www.food.gov.uk/chicken. Nina Purcell, Director of the Food Standards Agency in Wales said: “This is a serious problem and we are calling on the whole industry to act together to tackle Campylobacter. People in Flintshire can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.” Councillor Kevin Jones, Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure said: “It’s important that we do our part to make sure that people know how to handle and cook food safely for themselves and for their families. We’re proud to be keeping people in Flintshire safe and well by being part of this campaign to spread the word – and not the germs.” Editors note · Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after consuming contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting. It can last for between 2 and 10 days and can be particularly severe in small children and the elderly. In some cases, it can affect you forever - sparking off irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reactive arthritis and in rare cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome – a serious and sometimes permanent condition of the nervous system. · About four in five cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry. One of the main ways to get and spread campylobacter poisoning is through touching raw chicken. FSA advice is not to wash raw chicken. Germs can be spread to kitchen surfaces, clothing and utensils. For more information see www.food.gov.uk/actnow For advice on handling poultry safely see www.food.gov.uk/chicken


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