Are You Putting Your Family at Risk of Food Poisoning?
You may think you’re doing everything to ensure family wellness, but your kitchen habits are probably putting your child’s wellbeing at risk to food poisoning. This is according to a new study in honour of Food Safety Week, which found that over 80% of consumers have at least one poor kitchen habit that puts them at risk of food poisoning.
Conducted by the Food Standards Agency, the poll discovered that 43% of us would eat food after the “use by” date, while 29% would eat food that has been dropped on the floor. You may think you’re being healthy by washing chicken before cooking it but this makes you one of the 36% of people who are potentially splashing bacteria around the kitchen. Of the 35% of people who don’t bother to check “use by” dates, the study found that 85% prefer to sniff food to decide if it is safe and 68% determine food safety by looking at its colour. However, “use by” dates are different from “best before” dates, in that they relate to safety and are based on scientific testing.
The study also revealed that 21% of those questioned do not wash their hands properly before preparing food. 83% of people did admit to one or more habits when cooking at home that could put them at risk of food poisoning, but the same percentage reported that they have confidence in their food hygiene all or most of the time. Not only is this worrying, but 93% believe they have never given family or friends food poisoning, and 95% – if they were to fall ill themselves – would not suspect or even consider if the cleanliness of their own kitchen was the cause.
As a result of the study, the FSA has launched an online “kitchen check”. This gets you to examine your own food preparation practices, and gives you scores and advice based on your answers. According to FSA food safety expert Bob Martin, ‘By not washing their hands before preparing food at home, or ignoring “use by” dates, people could be setting themselves and their friends or family up for a bout of really unpleasant illness. We’ve created the kitchen check to help people to think about what they do in their own homes and make it easier for people to be knowledgeable and confident about storing and preparing food.’