Stay safe on family trips this summer
With so much to see and do across the UK this summer, especially considering the excitement of the Olympics (and the Paralympics still to come!) it’s a perfect opportunity to take advantage of all the brilliant food the UK has to offer. For families who are planning to head to the Paralympics (starting on August 29th) a great option might be to try out one of the restaurants near the venues. Not only is there more choice, but it could be better value for money and healthier, too.
Over the last few months, the Food Standards Agency has been working with the Olympic boroughs to help ensure that food safety standards are up to scratch, and that any restaurants who aren’t up to the correct standards have taken steps to correct this.
However, given the warm weather we are finally experiencing and the extra pressure that some food businesses are under, it’s also important to use common sense in making food choices when out and about this summer. A recent survey by the Food Standards Agency found that three quarters of people are prepared to take a chance with their food when eating out, potentially putting them at increased risk of falling ill.
Over a quarter of people surveyed (26%) said they are prepared to take bigger risks when eating out on holiday and over one in seven (15%) take a gamble with food at sporting and music events. Eating dodgy food after a night on the town is the biggest temptation, with 28% saying they are most likely to take a chance with food following an evening out. Just 25% say they would never take a chance with their food.
The poll also found that people often have the wrong idea about the foods most likely to make them ill when eating out. For example, 18% of people think kebabs are the worst culprit for food poisoning, but according to the survey just 2.6% of people who have suffered from food poisoning in the past believe that a kebab was the culprit. Yet a quarter (25%) of those who have fallen ill due to food blamed cooked meat or fish, despite just 3.7% of people thinking these foods would put them most at risk.
For families this summer, it’s important not to let food safety go out of the window when you’re away from home or at an event, so you can be sure you have the best possible experience.
The Food Standards Agency is advising people to take the following steps this summer to ensure the food they eat is safe:
• Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching, cooking or eating food (and always after using the toilet). If washing facilities are thin on the ground, consider using hand wipes or hand gels.
• Outside of Olympic venues, look for a hygiene rating sticker displayed on a food business’s premises to see if it has been rated well.
• If you can’t see one, take a closer look at the premises.
• Does it look clean?
• Is cold food kept cold, and raw food separated from cooked?
• If you order hot food, make sure it is hot and cooked the whole way through.
• If in doubt about the food you’re offered, don’t take a chance – try somewhere else.
• If you do fall ill with suspected food poisoning, report it to your doctor or local council and they will take the appropriate action.
The Food Standards Agency is running the Play it Safe campaign to ensure that all food bought, cooked and eaten this summer is safe. For more information, visit www.food.gov.uk/olympics.
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