Tag Archive: bugs

High-risk of food poisoning in our region

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We all love it when the weather gets warmer but people are being asked to think harder about food safety in the summer months.

New research indicates that people in the Bradford District 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 avoiding 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 Yorkshire and the Humber

A third (32%) of people in Yorkshire and the Humber said they never change chopping boards between different types of food; more than any other region.

A third said that they generally defrost meat or fish in the microwave (6%) or fridge (30%), in line with FSA guidelines.

Half (51%) did not know that a fridge should be kept between 0°C and 5°C.

More than a third (37%) sometimes washed raw chicken. Washing chicken risks spreading bacteria and should be avoided.

One in seven (14%) don’t always wash their hands before starting to cook or prepare food.

Angela Brindle, Environmental Health Manager for Bradford Council, said: “Most of us love a good barbeque over the summer on a sunny day and this campaign is about making sure we get to enjoy the good weather without the risk of you, or a loved one, becoming ill.”

“It can be very serious if you get food poisoning from badly prepared food, however, the basic rules set out by the Food Standards Agency website can help you avoid the risks in the first place.”

Cllr Val Slater, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing in Bradford Council, said: “These figures show that more people in the district could do more to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this summer.

“That's why Bradford Council is working with the Food Standards Agency to promote good hygiene over the summer by encouraging better food preparation.”

For tips on how to stay safe this summer visit: https://www.food.gov.uk/safe-summer-food

 


 

Common summer bugs

 

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can’t see, smell or even taste it, but it can lead to people being very ill indeed with abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headache and fever. It can even lead to permanent disability. It is usually found in poultry, meat, dairy products, unpasteurised milk and shellfish and can be spread by cross-contamination, contaminated water or infected animals and their food.

Salmonella is another common bug found in raw meat, undercooked poultry, eggs and unpasteurised milk. Most commonly spread by inadequate cooking and cross-contamination, it leads to diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and stomach pains and it can make you ill for up to three weeks.

Listeria (L. monocytogenes) is less common than Campylobacter and Salmonella but it has a high hospitalisation and mortality rate. Individuals with an increased risk of listeriosis include those over 65 years of age, very young children and babies less than one month old. Listeria is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Listeria causes flu-like symptoms and it is most commonly associated with ready-to-eat foods. Special care should be taken with soft cheeses, smoked fish, meat pates and pre-packed sandwiches.

E coli is often passed on through raw and undercooked meats, but can also be spread through other contaminated foods, such as vegetables and salads, water or unpasteurised milk and from person to person. Symptoms can include diarrhoea (about 50% of people infected have bloody diarrhoea), stomach cramps and vomiting and the illness usually lasts between one and five days, although symptoms can persist for up to two weeks. Infection can be more serious in children, particularly those aged 1 to 4 years, when in rarer cases it can lead to haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition affecting the kidneys.

 


 

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What’s lurking inside your car?

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Microbiologists find faecal matter, bugs, germs and bacteria lurking on handbrakes and steering wheels

A study has revealed just how dirty the nation’s cars really are.  With the help of the The University of Nottingham’s Microbiology Investigation Centre, car interiors were swabbed and sent for analysis with some shocking results.

Amid the shards of fingernails, pet hairs and crisp packets, the cars of students, parents, office workers and van drivers were all found to be contaminated by an array of microorganisms. This included environmental bacteria, yeasts, moulds and potential E.coli (found in faecal matter or poo to me and you). Additionally, Staphylococcus bacteria, commonly found on the skin, were identified.

Shockingly, one in 14 (7%) drivers have even witnessed their pets having ‘toilet accidents’ in their motor vehicles during a journey. And it’s not just animals that seem to cause drivers problems, with one in ten (10%) Brits revealing that they have had a passenger vomit in their car.

However, whilst passengers can be the bane of many motorists lives, the findings reveal that nearly half of the people surveyed (49%) candidly state they’re responsible for the poor state of their car – citing the foot wells (32%) and boot (22%) as the dirtiest parts. However, others accuse their children (36%) and grubby friends (10%). Almost one in 10 (9%) say they’re reluctant to clean their cars on a regular basis, especially since their kids will mess it up again.

 

Worryingly, a quarter of motorists (25%) admitted to only cleaning their car interior once every three months, with a further 8% saying they never bother to at all! This is all the more surprising as half of Brits (51%) have dropped food in their car, whilst 35% recall drinks being spilled or muddy clothes being worn (32%).

Almost three in five people (58%) take full responsibility for cleaning their cars themselves, while others are lazier. They prefer to pay for a professional wash (32%) or pass the chore on to their partner (18%) or children (7%). One in eight (13%) blame the expense of visiting the car wash for their dirty ways.

It seems that despite the nation’s dirty habits when it comes to maintaining their own cars, many raise their standards when it comes to purchasing a new set of wheels. Understandably, one in five Brits (20%) would pay less for a car if it appeared unclean. And one in 20 (5%) even said they viewed a used car and was shocked at how dirty it was inside.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com says: “You normally hear stories of people taking real pride in their car, cleaning it every weekend and ensuring it’s immaculate at all times. It’s really worrying to see, then, just how dirty people are letting their cars get. We were expecting to find some bad stuff from the University of Nottingham’s testing but we didn’t expect to find bacteria relating to eColi.

“The fact that so many say they only clean the interiors of their car once every three months is quite disconcerting. By taking better care of their cars British drivers will help protect their precious cargo from any bacteria and illness but they will also go some way to helping keep the vehicle value when it comes to resale.”

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