Outbreaks of food poisoning have resulted in product recalls, illnesses and even deaths. So are we educated enough about food poisoning and do we truly understand the importance of food safety?
Published by Nicola Murphy from www.foodprocessing.com.au (click here to read the full article) highlights that seriousness of food safety is made apparent by the number of foodborne outbreaks worldwide. 21 people became ill with Salmonella Havana linked to alfafa sprouts in South Australia, at least 183 South Africans have died after eating Listeria-contaminated polony and nine deaths have been caused by an outbreak of Listeria from frozen vegetables in Europe.
Research from the UK and New Zealand suggests there is still more to be done in educating people about the importance of food safety.
The Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) recent survey found that food poisoning was not the highest food safety concern (28%). Instead 33% of consumers were concerned about food hygiene when eating out, 30% about chemicals from the environment such as lead in food and 29% about food additives.
Results found that Salmonella and E. coli are the most known types of food poisoning, capturing the awareness of 91% and 85% of consumers respectively.
Respondents perceived raw chicken or turkey to be the most likely source of food poisoning (79%), followed by shellfish (55%), reheated takeaway food (46%) and eggs (37%).
Bacteria doesn’t change the appearance or smell of food, but there are a number of ways to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Consumers believed that the best way was cooking food thoroughly, but the survey found that awareness of hygiene standards when eating outside the home is 82%, which is a 4% decrease since May 2017. Just under half of respondents were concerned about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, shops and supermarkets.
Whether the responsibility falls on the business or the consumer, these pieces of research highlight there is room for improvement in regard to upholding food safety and minimising the risk of illnesses.