Nearly everyone has suffered from food poisoning at some stage in their life, experiencing symptoms such as vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhoea or fever. Often that ordeal could have been prevented if whoever prepared the food had followed good hygiene practice.
Food poisoning occurs when people eat food that has been contaminated with harmful germs (mainly bacteria) or toxins (poisonous substances). The very young, the very old and people who are already unwell are particularly at risk. We know that lots of people who suffer from food poisoning don't report it, but we estimate that there could be as many as 4.5 million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK.
There are many bacteria that can cause serious illness including:
Milton Keynes Council and the Food Standards Agency is determined to reduce the number of food poisoning cases. Although food businesses have a crucial role to play in this, it is important to practice safe food handling whilst at home too. After all, most food poisoning arises from poor hygiene within the home!
How Can I Prevent Food Poisoning?
You can spread food poisoning bacteria by a variety of means, for example through unwashed hands or by using a chopping board for raw food and then for ready-to-eat food without washing it first. Remember, food poisoning bacteria can grow in food whilst in your fridge if the fridge is not working at the right temperature. Fridges should be operating at about 5 degrees Celsius. Food poisoning can also arise where food has not been cooked or re-heated enough. Always reheat food to 75 degrees Celsius or hotter.
There are four main things to remember for good food hygiene - they are called the 4 C's: