Have a sizzling and safe summer with top food advice

21 June 2017

Barbecue Barbecue

We all love it when the weather gets warmer - but did you know that you might need to think harder about food safety in the summer months?

New research indicates that people in the East Midlands could be putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning through lack of knowledge of the ‘four Cs’ 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 the East Midlands:

  • 47% of respondents said that they never check their fridge temperature and less than half (45%) said they did not know what the fridge temperature should be, suggesting that many people’s fridges may not be between the recommended 0 and 5°C.
  • 44% thought the correct method for defrosting meat or fish was leaving it at room temperature, putting themselves at higher risk of food poisoning as germs multiply more quickly at room temperature.
  • A quarter of respondents said that they don’t use different chopping boards for different foods, which increases the risk of cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • There are still a high proportion of people eating meat that is pink or has pink/red juices, against recommended practice.
  • A third (35%) washed raw chicken at least sometimes. Washing chicken risks spreading bacteria and should be avoided.

Councillor Peter Watson, chairman of South Derbyshire District Council’s Environmental and Development Services Committee, said: “These figures show that there's more that people in the East Midlands could do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this summer.

“That's why the district council is working with the Food Standards Agency to promote good hygiene practices during Food Safety Week.

“This year the week aims to encourage better hygiene practices for summer, when the risk of getting food poisoning goes up.”

Tips on how to stay safe this summer are available online.