Bah humbug

An article in The Sun yesterday: ‘Tis the season to be jolly…ill’ included tips on preparing and cooking your turkey from my microbiologist colleague Dr Judith Hilton.

Bah humbug, I hear you cry (and it’s still only December 7!), but there is a serious point to our seasonal food safety messages, part of a strategic aim to continue reducing foodborne disease after succeeding in bringing it down by over 19% in the past five years.

In the past we’ve used TV ads, online games and local and regional broadcast interviews to spread the festive food safety word.

But our interest in turkeys (and chickens, geese and ducks for that matter) isn’t just at Christmas.

Our biosecurity initiative, Cleaner farms better flocks, aims to achieve a 50% reduction in the incidence of UK-produced chickens which test positive for campylobacter by 2010.

Our work is informed by scientific, food industry and consumer intelligence, via the Consultative Group on Campylobacter and Salmonella in Chickens, which meets twice a year. Leaving poultry (and Christmas) aside, there’s our 4 C’s work, a strategy to promote cooking, cleaning, cooling and avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen.

I could talk also about Safer Food Better Business, the food safety management pack launched to help catering and retail outlets comply with new hygiene legislation. But I probably ought to mark that on the blog when the legislation is a year old in January 2007.

So watch this space (and rest assured that no elves have caught campylobacter). Better still, have your say and post a response.