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Good Enough to Eat – Wigan is fit for Food Safety Week
Tuesday 8th June, 2010

When it comes to preventing food poisoning, Wigan is the best around.
The council’s Environmental Health Team is at the vanguard of protecting the public against unpleasant and potentially life-threatening food poisoning bugs such as Salmonella.

Now, to coincide with national Food Safety Week (June 7 – 13) the team has revealed that the borough has the lowest number of cases of food poisoning across Greater Manchester.

In 2009, laboratories in the North West region reported that there were 8,335 cases of food poisoning. However Wigan Borough had the lowest number of confirmed cases of illness related to food poisoning across Greater Manchester, at 160.

Julie Searing, who is the Head of Business Compliance at the council, says: “You usually get food poisoning such as Salmonella by eating contaminated food such as meat or dairy products.

“Other foods like green vegetables, fruit and shellfish can become contaminated through contact with manure or sewage in the water. A food poisoning bug called Campylobacter can come from undercooked meat, unpasteurised milk or untreated water.”

Julie adds: “The Environmental Health team makes regular visits to businesses dealing with food in our borough to inspect their premises and how they handle food to ensure that they are doing everything to prevent food poisoning. We are really pleased that Wigan has the lowest number of cases.”

National Food Safety Week is organised by the Food Standards Agency. The focus for this year’s event is on what steps people can take to avoid the misery of food poisoning.

The Environmental Health team’s tips for banishing the bugs are simple ones:
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after going to the toilet, before and after handling food and before eating.

  • Make sure that food is properly cooked – especially sausages, burgers, pork and poultry.

  • Don’t keep food in the fridge for too long – always use it by the ‘use by’ date.

  • Check your fridge regularly and make sure the temperature is below 5ºC.

  • Store cooked and raw meat products separately in the fridge with cooked meats on a higher shelf. Raw meats should be stored on the bottom of the fridge.

  • Make sure that meat and poultry products are thoroughly defrosted before cooking.

  • Use separate knives and chopping boards for preparing raw and cooked meat.

  • Make sure you eat food within four hours of it being removed from chilled storage, such as the fridge.

  • Make sure that raw meat such as pork, burgers and sausages are cook through with no pinkness in the meat or juices.

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Lifestyles, Cllr Paul Prescott, says: “There are more than one million cases of food poisoning reported across the country each year. Many of these case significant illness which has kept people away from work. It also places a strain on valuable NHS resources. Yet with a few a few simple precautions it can be pretty much avoided.

“Thankfully the Environmental Health team is working hard with businesses to make sure the high standards we have in the borough are maintained but, considering we are right at the start of the barbecue season I would urge everyone to put food safety at the top of their list.”
  • For more information on food health and safety please contact Wigan Council’s Business Compliance Section on 01942 828142 or e-mail comm.@wigan.gov.uk

  • For more information on Food Safety Week go to www.food.gov.uk/fsw2010

  • For general advice on food safety go to www.eatwell.gov.uk/keepingfoodsafe

  • For more information on food-borne infections such as Salmonella go to www.hpa.org.uk

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