The food ‘sniff test’ could be putting consumers at risk of food poisoning, new survey reveals
Food Safety Week urges Banbridge District Council consumers to dispel food safety myths
Food safety myths – like using the ‘sniff test’ to tell whether food is safe – could be putting Banbridge District Council consumers and their families at risk of food poisoning in the home, according to the latest research released to coincide with Food Safety Week, 10th to 16th June.
To dispel this and other myths - the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland and safefood in association with Banbridge District Council - have launched a new Kitchen Check tool to help consumers improve their food safety behaviour.
The myth-busting survey revealed misconceptions, about food storage, whether or not food is safe to eat and general cooking and cleaning habits that are confusing consumers and potentially increasing their risk of food poisoning.
The Northern Ireland wide survey, which targeted consumers from the Banbridge District Council area, revealed:
· Almost half of respondents in the Banbridge District Council area incorrectly believe you can tell whether food is safe by the look or smell.
· Over half incorrectly believe you need to wash poultry before you cook it.
· One in five is unaware that cooked rice can’t be kept as long as other leftovers.
· One in ten believes food poisoning is caused by the last thing they’ve eaten.
Dr David McCleery, from safefood said: “The survey confirms that many of us still hold misconceptions on how we should store, prepare and cook our food.
“For example, two thirds of consumers believe that you can tell whether food is safe by its look and smell. This is not the case, as potentially dangerous germs like E. coli and Salmonella don’t always make food smell 'off' and do not affect the appearance of food.
“Instead, we would urge people to stick to the ‘use by’ date and storage instructions on the packet.”
In response to these myths the new Kitchen Check tool provides a step-by-step guide to the ‘dos and don’ts’ in the family kitchen.
These include not washing raw meat or poultry, fridge storage tips, advice on best cleaning practices and how to ensure that food is properly cooked.
Debbie Sharpe from the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland said: “The survey results show that most of us are aware of good hygiene in the kitchen, but can still fall foul of some common misconceptions around food safety.
For example, two thirds of consumers believe you need to wash poultry before you cook it. This is a myth and by doing so consumers risk spreading harmful bacteria around their kitchen.”
“The Kitchen Check tool aims to dispel the confusion by helping to reassure the consumer that they are handling and preparing foods at home safely by replacing myths with facts.”
Gavin Marshall from Banbridge District Council, said: “We are delighted to work in association with the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland and safefood to deliver this year’s Food Safety Week.
“The Food Check will provide our Environmental Health Officers with a useful resource to help educate people on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of good food hygiene in the home.”
Food Safety Week runs from the 10th to16th June in Northern Ireland and is organised in partnership with local councils, the FSA in NI and safefood.
For more information on Food Safety Week and to download the Kitchen Check tool visit: www.food.gov.ukor www.safefood.eu
What we do
The Food Control service provides advice and guidance to the general public and food businesses on producing safe food. Food Control is concerned with enforcing relevant legislation relating to food safety in accordance with codes of practice, advice from central government and the enforcement policy statement. Details of how this service is provided is contained within the Food Service Plan. The following information provides some useful information for both members of the public and local businesses.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
Banbridge District Council has signed up to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) national scheme. Run in partnership with the FSA, the food hygiene rating scheme (FHRS) replaces all the different schemes currently being used across the UK and provide consumers with a single, easy to understand scheme.
Banbridge Business' Food Hygiene Ratings
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme FAQ's for the public and business
Information on Safeguards for business
Request an appeal application form
Right to reply application form
Revisit request application form
The food hygiene rating scheme is not an endorsement of current standards but merely reflects the score we awarded a premises at the time of their inspection. Nevertheless, we try very hard to make sure the information available on these pages is correct. The food hygiene rating scheme adheres to the FSA’s brand standard.
Following an inspection it may take up to 28 days for the new rating to appear on our website
Food Premises Registration
All food premises offering food for sale are required by law to register with the Council's Environmental Health Department. The application for registration must be made in writing at least 28 days before opening. An application form to register your food business is available here to download.
Safe Catering is FSA Northern Ireland's food safety management guide. It has been developed with help and expertise from the food industry and local authorities. This guide will help catering businesses to produce a food safety management plan based on HACCP principles and to keep records appropriate to their business.
For further advice click here
Additional record forms can be downloaded here
Food Hygiene Inspections
Under food safety legislation officers have a right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually come without advance notice. Officers have the power to take samples, photographs and inspect records. On a visit to premises the environmental health officer will explain why the inspection is being made i.e. whether it is following a complaint or is simply a routine inspection. During a visit an officer will look at the condition and fabric of all the food rooms, monitor temperature of food on display or being stored and may take food samples for further analysis. Examination of any documents relating to your food business including temperature records, hazard analysis, cleaning schedules, pest control and staff training are routine tasks that an officer may carry out. Download a copy of Food Hygiene - A Guide for Businesses.
Frequency of Inspection
The potential for producing unfit/unsafe food increases depending upon the type of food produced, the processing method used and the attitude, experience and qualifications of the business management. A standard risk assessment form is used to determine the frequency of inspections.
After the Inspection
Contraventions of food legislation will be brought to the attention of the owner both at the time of the inspection and in writing. Contraventions will be addressed in accordance with the Department's enforcment policy.
Food Hygiene Training
Well trained staff is an important aspect in producing food that is safe. The Catering/Retail Industry guide to Good Hygiene Practice suggests that staff that prepare open high risk foods or handle and have a supervisory role must have training to a level equivalent to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Basic Food Hygiene Certificate within 3 months of starting to work e.g. CIEH Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene and RSPH Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene. Contact the Department for up-to-date information on training providers.
The Food Control service deals with all types of food related complaints. Many problems are resolved by simply providing advice to the proprietor of a food business or a manufacturer. In certain circumstances formal action may be necessary to achieve compliance with legislation. If you want to make a complaint about food you have purchased, or if you are unhappy about the premises from which you have bought food please let us know.
Each year, a comprehensive food sampling programme is carried out to check that food and drink sold in the District is safe to eat and is of a quality consumers expect. The sampling programme incorporates all food premises and is also carried out as a result of local, regional and national surveys.
Food Information Leaflets
A number of food information leaflets are available from the Environmental Health Department.