Teignbridge District Council is marking national Food Safety Week with a series of free advisory events to help people in Teignbridge enjoy better food hygiene in the home.
To help people learn more about food hygiene and the simple things they can do to keep themselves and their families safe, the council is offering information and advice all day at Sainsbury’s Newton Abbot on Wednesday, June 9 and at the Co-op in Teignmouth on Thursday, June 10.
The events are free and anyone can come along for a chat.
Council staff will also be providing hygiene advice to current participants of the Cook 4 Life scheme at Liverton Village Hall on Tuesday, June 8 and at the Chrysalis Project at Abbotsbury Church, Newton Abbot, on Friday, June 11, ensuring that people who are learning new cooking skills are matching them with food safety knowledge.
Cllr Gordon Hook, Teignbridge executive spokesperson for environmental services told the Devon Week: “Every year around 300 cases of food poisoning are reported to and investigated by Teignbridge Council’s Environmental Health service. Usually the number of cases increase as the weather gets warmer and barbeques and al-fresco eating become more frequent.
“This week we’re offering common-sense advice and some top tips. While people shouldn’t worry unduly, there are some simple steps people can take to avoid getting ill. Just storing, handling and cooking food properly will minimise the risk.
“Food poisoning is a miserable experience and can be quite easily avoided. As a keen BBQ cook and al-fresco diner myself, I know that just following simple steps in the kitchen can stop you becoming another food poisoning casualty. This week we’ll be on hand to help make sure this summer an enjoyable and safe one for all.”
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that following simple principles will help people to keep food safe.
Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the FSA, said: “Proper cooking will kill food bugs. It’s especially important to make sure poultry, pork, burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through. If there’s any pink meat or the juices have any pink or red in them, germs could be lurking! Check your food is steaming hot all the way through before serving.
“Avoiding cross-contamination is also extremely important, that is preventing bacteria from spreading between foods and from contaminated surfaces or utensils. Make sure you store raw meat covered and at the bottom of the fridge, below and away from ready-to-eat food. Never use the same chopping board for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods without washing the board and knife thoroughly first.”
The FSA also highlights that clean hands in the kitchen are vital in the fight against food poisoning; while food must also be kept at the right temperature. Food that needs to be chilled should be kept in the fridge, and people should check that it’s running at the right temperature – between 0°C and 5°C. Storage above this range can allow bacteria to grow or harmful toxins to form. They also advise that, when going for a picnic, food should be taken out of the fridge at the last minute and people should use a cool bag to keep it chilled until ready to eat.
More information and advice for anyone who doesn’t catch a roadshow event this week is available from the Food & Safety Team at Teignbridge District Council on 01626 215409 or 01626 215424. There’s also advice available online.