10 June 2013

Food Safety Week

How to avoid kitchen nightmares this summer

With summer here and people thinking about delicious recipes, Brighton & Hove City Council's Food Safety Team will be on hand during Food Safety Week to offer advice about enjoying food safely.   

A snapshot survey carried out by the Food Standard Agency has shown that, like the rest of the country, most (88%) of those asked in Brighton admitted to one or more habits that put them at risk of food poisoning, including 38% saying they would eat food that has been dropped on the floor and 30% not washing their hands properly before preparing food.

However, the survey also showed that 95% wash chopping boards in between preparing raw and ready-to-eat food and almost 75% stick to the recommended 48 hours for keeping leftovers in the fridge.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the city council’s Environment Committee, said: "Using up leftovers is a great way to cut down on waste and save money and the good news is that most people understand how to enjoy leftovers safely.

“Food Safety Week is an opportunity for our food safety team to remind people about food safety at home and encourage everyone to take just a few precautions when storing and preparing food to avoid the possibility of becoming ill.”

More than 80% said they are confident they get things right with food hygiene all or most of the time and 88% believe they’ve never given family or friends food poisoning. If they do fall ill themselves, only 8% of people consider whether the cleanliness of their own kitchen is the cause.

The survey also revealed confusion over ‘use by’ dates. Unlike ‘best before’ dates, ‘use by’ dates relate to safety and are based on scientific testing.

There will be displays at Brighton Town Hall, Hove Library and the Customer Service Centres in Bartholomew House and Hove Town Hall during Food Safety Week, which runs from 10-16 June. You can also complete the new Kitchen Check, which asks people to look at their own food preparation practices and gives a score and some tips based on the answers.

For more information visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/foodsafety e-mail ehl.food@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 292161.

To take the Kitchen Check visit: food.gov.uk/kitchen-check.

There are more than a million cases of food poisoning each year, including 20,000 hospitalisations and 500 deaths.

Throughout Food Safety Week, the Food Standards Agency will be using Facebook and Twitter to provide food safety advice. On Friday 14 June, the FSA will be using Twitter to run a fridge clinic where members of the public can send us images of their fridge and we will tweet back suggestions and tips on how to store food more safely. For updates on this and the rest of Food Safety Week visit: food.gov.uk/facebook or food.gov.uk/twitter

The survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of the Food Standards Agency between Monday 3 May and Thursday 9 May 2013. A total of 2,199 UK respondents took part – 60 were in Brighton & Hove.