Food Standards Scotland (FSS), the country’s food body, is launching a summer food safety campaign aimed at reducing barbecue-related food poisoning today (30 June 2017). The campaign is targeted at men, who are often the main cooks when it comes to barbecuing*, but the key messages on good hygiene and cooking practice are important for everyone.
The campaign raises awareness of the risks of campylobacter - a nasty bug found on raw chicken and the biggest cause of food poisoning in Scotland. Reports show that the number of people who become ill from campylobacter food poisoning increases by 60% in the summer months (between mid-May and August), compared to the rest of the year.. Evidence also suggests that campylobacter food poisoning in Scotland is approximately 20% higher among men compared to women, so it’s important they know how to avoid it.
Cooking chicken properly is key to getting rid of campylobacter and this can be a challenge on the barbecue. FSS wants to remind barbecue cooks of the simple rules that will help them to protect themselves and their guests from an unpleasant bout of food poisoning, which in some cases can also have serious effects on health.
The campaign will see the return of ‘Pink Chicken’, who will be doing his best to spoil summer. The humorous campaign has a serious message and aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with not cooking chicken on the barbecue properly. Whether barbecuing in the park, on the beach or at home, Pink Chicken could be lurking anywhere.
The Pink Chicken campaign will run throughout the summer on social media, digital and outdoor advertising to highlight the risks associated with unsafe cooking practices on the barbecue.
Dr Jacqui McElhiney, Head of Food Safety Science at Food Standards Scotland, said: “Despite our unpredictable weather, summer is a time to enjoy ourselves and barbecues are a big part of this. However, we do see a dramatic rise in the number of cases of campylobacter poisoning across Scotland at this time of year.
“Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in Scotland so to enjoy chicken safely, it’s vital that everyone follows good hygiene and cooking practice.
“Making sure that there’s no pink meat, the juices run clear and it’s cooked to 75°C is the best way to avoid a nasty bout of food poisoning from chicken. Always use separate tongs, utensils and plates for raw and cooked chicken, and regularly wash your hands. Don’t let Pink Chicken spoil your summer."