With summer here, it’s the perfect chance to enjoy picnics and barbecues with family and friends in gardens and in some of Derby’s 300 parks and open spaces. Did you know that this week is not just food safety week but also National Picnic week! To help you have a great time, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have put together advice to help ensure you don’t become unwell when eating outdoors.

A key focus of this year’s campaign is preventing food poisoning. Many people assume food poisoning only comes from restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets, but it’s also possible to get ill from food prepared at home. The UK has an estimated 1,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year. The risk of getting food poisoning rises over summer. To find out more about food poisoning and what to do if you think you’ve been affected, visit the NHS website.

Every week in Derby, food safety officers visit food outlets across the city to check they’re operating with robust hygiene standards in place to protect customers from potential food poisoning, but as Helen Castledine-Smith, Team Leader of the City Council’s award winning food safety officers says:

“We all expect the establishments where we eat out to be clean and safe and through following the advice issued by the FSA, you can also make sure the food prepared in your own home is undertaken so that  your family and friends all eat safely over the summer and beyond.”

New research from the FSA indicates people could be putting themselves and their families at risk through lack of knowledge of the 4Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cooking, Cleaning and avoiding Cross-contamination.

Research figures from the Food StandardsAgency
Research figures from the Food StandardsAgency

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’ll know how unpleasant it can be, even for a fit and healthy person. For children, people already in ill-health and older people, food poisoning can have serious and sometimes even deadly consequences. It’s important to protect your loved ones from foodborne illness this summer by handling food safely when eating outdoors.

The 4Cs of food hygiene, explained below, can help prevent most forms of foodborne disease. It’s the little things you do that can help to stop you and your family becoming unwell.

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection says:

“Our food safety officers work really hard inspecting food outlets across the city and educating businesses to ensure they’re serving food that has been prepared in safe and hygienic environments. We’ve pledged to continue to provide that support to businesses and to protect consumers but it’s equally important that residents take on board the same advice at home to help prevent food poisoning and food related illness.”

The 4Cs of Food hygiene:

  1. Chilling and defrosting: Chilling food properly helps stop harmful bacteria from growing, especially in the warm summer months
  2. Cooking: Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed. This is particularly important when cooking minced meat products such as beef burgers, sausages and kebabs as well as pork, turkey and chicken
  3. Cleaning: Effective cleaning removes bacteria on hands, equipment and surfaces, helping to stop harmful bacteria from spreading onto food.
  4. Avoiding Cross-contamination: Cross-contamination is most likely to happen when raw food touches (or drips onto) ready to-eat food, utensils or surfaces.

Further advice and guidance about the 4Cs of food hygiene can be found in the handy infographic below, the FSA website or by following them on twitter.

The 4 Cs of Safe Summer Eating by the Food Standards Agency
The 4 Cs of Safe Summer Eating by the Food Standards Agency