Take time for a kitchen check during Food Safety Week 2013

10 Jun 2013 @ 6.42 am
| News

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Council is urging residents to take care and think about food hygiene when cooking at home this Food Safety Week.

A new survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows that 86 per cent of those asked in Yorkshire admitted to one or more habits that put them at risk of food poisoning, including 33 per cent admitting they would eat food that has been dropped on the floor and 24 per cent not washing their hands properly before preparing food.

To help residents think about food hygiene at home, The FSA have designed a new Kitchen Check. The Kitchen Check gets people to look at their own food preparation practices and will provide them with a score and tips based on their answers.

The survey also reveals that 39 per cent of people in Yorkshire don’t check “use by” dates, with 88 per cent of them using the “sniff test” and 62 per cent just checking the colour – even though this will not always reveal whether the food is safe to eat. Unlike “best before” dates, “use by” dates relate to safety and are based on scientific testing, yet 48 per cent of those questioned said they would eat food after its “use by” date – the most frequent food safety gamble admitted.

While admitting these risky kitchen habits, more than 81 per cent said they are confident they get things right with food hygiene all or most of the time and 94 per cent believe they’ve never given family or friends food poisoning. If they do fall ill themselves, only 6 per cent of people in Yorkshire consider whether the cleanliness of their own kitchen is the cause.

However, the survey also showed some encouraging examples – 98 per cent said they wash chopping boards in between preparing raw and ready-to-eat food and almost 80 per cent stick to the recommended 48 hours for keeping leftovers in the fridge.

Councillor Linsay Cunningham-Cross, Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities, said: “It’s extremely important to take steps to limit the chance of getting food poisoning from food cooked at home – hands are one of the main ways germs are spread, so even just ensuring hands are washed hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before preparing and handling food, cooking and after touching the bin, going to the toilet, handling pets or handling raw food lessens the risk of getting food poisoning.”

Bob Martin, food safety expert at the Food Standards Agency, said: “By not washing their hands before preparing food at home, or ignoring ‘use by’ dates, people could be setting themselves and their friends or family up for a bout of really unpleasant illness.

“It’s encouraging though to see that the majority of people are concerned about food safety. We’ve created the Kitchen Check to help people to think about why they do in their own homes and make it easier for people to be knowledgeable and confident about storing and preparing food.”

For more information on safe eating in the home and to take the Kitchen Check go to the Food Standards Agency website.

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