Protect yourself from food poisoning

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GOOD hygiene practices are top of the list for Food Safety Week.

This year Food Safety Week is promoting food safety on a budget as new research by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows some people are taking more risks with food safety as they try to save money and make their food go further.

The research showed that 97 per cent of those questioned believed the cost of their typical shopping basket has gone up significantly in the last three years, with half of these trying to make better use of leftover food.

However, some people are ignoring use-by dates more than they used to, while others are keeping leftovers for longer than the recommended limit of two days in the fridge.

South Holland District Councillor Malcolm Chandler said: “While we appreciate the current economic climate will mean residents will be careful to make full use of all food purchased by using leftover food, it is important that food safety is not compromised.

“Council officers have investigated more than 180 cases of food poisoning in the previous year. The council inspects and proactively supports all food businesses to make sure the food we eat is safe and without risks to health. It is also important that good food hygiene practices are followed in the home to prevent illness.”

Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the FSA, said: “With most of us seeing our weekly shopping bills increase over the last few years, we are all looking for ways to get the most out of our shopping budget.

“Using leftover food is a good way of making meals go further. However, unless we’re careful, there’s a chance we can risk food poisoning by not storing or handling them properly. ”

There are around a million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK. Levels soar during summer with around 120,000 extra cases of illness from June to August.

In March the district council joined the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme to improve standards of hygiene at food outlets and help raise awareness of food safety issues. Ratings may be viewed at www.food.gov.uk/ratings