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Aiming to reduce Scotland’s 43,000 annual cases of food borne illness

Barbecue and food poisoning: how bad habits in the sun put thousands of Scots indoors

The Four C’s from Food Standards Scotland aim to reduce Scotland’s 43,000 annual cases of food borne illness

Thousands of Scots unwittingly put their families at risk of falling ill from a dangerous food poisoning bug by overlooking basic food safety practices when barbecuing. Foodborne illness causes around 43,000 infections, 5,800 GP visits and 500 hospital admissions across Scotland every year.

New research carried out by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) revealed that more than one in four adults (26%) believe washing chicken before it is cooked on a barbecue is the best way to ensure it is safe to eat, but this is a practice that can spread Campylobacter which can be a particularly nasty bug, thought to be responsible for more than half the cases of food borne illness in Scotland.

Sixteen percent of people who cook meat on a barbecue use the same utensils for raw and cooked meat without washing them in between. Nearly one in five of Scots who cook meat on the barbecue (17%) admit to not washing their hands after touching uncooked meat and only just over two in five wash their barbecue every time they use it (41%). 

A recent survey showed that around three quarters of fresh chickens sold by major retailers are contaminated  with Campylobacter, yet a third of Scots (32%) could not correctly identify the name of the bug that can cause abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, vomiting and at its worst, in very rare cases, can kill.

Food Standards Scotland will be at the Royal Highland Show (18-21 June) to spread the word and urge people to stop washing raw chicken to reduce the risk of contracting Campylobacter poisoning. To help people eat safe this summer, FSS will be sharing its advice on the “Four C’s”, backed by celebrity chefs such as Jean-Christophe Novelli to drive home the key steps to safe barbecuing: Cleaning, Cooking, Chilling and avoiding Cross-contamination.

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