Food Safety Scotland

bacterial infection

Campylobacter Wash Your Hands Before Eating Snacks

Wash Your Hands Before Eating Snacks

It has been reported in the UK Press that that shoppers who eat snacks with their hands after picking up plastic packs of raw supermarket chicken are putting themselves at risk.

Wash Your Hands Campylobacter risk.

UK leading food safety experts have reportedly warned that shoppers should wash their hands before snacking and feeding children, after it has emerged that 9 million packs of chickens are sold each year with a dangerous dose of deadly bacteria on the outside.


A Daily Telegraph investigation has established that the plastic exterior of more than 1 in every 100 raw chickens sold by Britain’s biggest retailers is harbouring a potentially infectious level of Campylobacter which is now the UK’s leading cause of food poisoning with 485,000 recorded cases last year.

100 Deaths

Although the FSA had previously described the risk of people becoming ill as a result of bacteria on the outside of packaging as “extremely unlikely”, it estimates that the bug causes around 100 deaths a year. The FSA has previously focussed on educating,caterers and the public about the safe handling and cooking of raw chicken meat. But now food safety experts are now warning that hungry shoppers who eat snacks with their bare hands after picking up plastic packs of raw supermarket chicken are unwittingly putting themselves at risk.

Cross Contamination

An independent food hygiene expert has been quoted as saying: “I strongly suspect that many food poisoning cases are from cross contamination, which may involve the spread of bacteria from contaminated hands to mouth as well as via contaminated food.The ways of transmission can be much wider than people think.  “For example people quite often get hungry in the supermarket and may buy snacks such as crisps to eat on the way home. But if they’ve picked up chicken with bacteria on the outside packaging and licked their fingers they could consume enough bacteria to become ill.” Levels Of Bacteria

Tim Lang at the Centre for Food Policy, said it was “shocking” that 9 million packs of chicken with potentially dangerous levels of bacteria on the outside were being sold per year without more being done to protect the public.
He said: “This is an extremely unwise position for the FSA to be taking. Reducing cross contamination should be their number one concern. No consumer expects to become ill as a result of touching plastic packaging while shopping. At the least shoppers should be washing their hands after picking up chicken, but how far do you go? Should they be provided with rubber gloves as well?”

Addressing The Problem

A source close to the situation claimed that supermarkets have been particularly reluctant to address the problem of campylobacter lurking on the outside of packaging as they are concerned it could scare consumers and have a negative impact on chicken sales.
Last year a number of major supermarkets ignored the FSA’s calls for them to reduce the risk of cross contamination by offering small plastic bags to separate raw chicken from other food.
The FSA’s former chief executive Catherine Brown previously admitted supermarkets had “pushed back” against providing information on campylobacter, claimed they were unhappy over its league tables, which named and shamed individual retailers.

FSA Statement

In 2015 the FSA issued a statement which said: “In our year-long survey of campylobacter levels in UK shop-bought chicken, we found only five of more than 4011 samples (0.1pc) had the highest levels of campylobacter on the outside packaging. It is extremely unlikely that someone could become ill from the packaging.”
But a recent analysis by The Daily Telegraph of the FSA’s own data suggests the risk was ten times higher than indicated by this statement.  In 2015 1.3pc of packs had had a medium level of bacteria on the outside, which scientists agree is a high enough dose to make someone ill. Data for 2016 showed 1.1pc of packs had this level on the outer packaging.
Of the around 650 million chickens sold in supermarkets every year it means around 9 million have a potentially infectious level of bacteria on the outer pack.

FSA Overall Risk Is Low

An FSA spokesman said: “We have never said that the only risk is from packs with the highest level of bacteria. We have said that these present the greatest risk from the packaging, although we maintain that the overall risk is extremely low.”
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets, said: “Tackling campylobacter is the number one food safety priority for UK retailers and they are making real progress with partners like poultry processors and farmers in tackling this issue. Customers know the importance of safe handling and cooking of raw meat at home and supermarkets provide clear and simple on-pack advice to help with this.”
The FSA confirmed it will return to naming and shaming retailers in its forthcoming campylobacter update which is due to be published next month.

Training in the dangers of Cross Contamination Contact TBDS

hygiene training

Salmonella Safety. Food Poisoning May Permanently Damage The DNA

Salmonella Safety Warning

People infected with salmonella often suffer from fever, diarrhoea, and severe abdominal pain between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness can last between four and seven days and most people recover even without getting medical treatment.

Findings of a new study conducted by food scientists from Cornell University, however, showed that some serotypes, or variations of salmonella species, may have permanent unwanted effects such that they can cause damage to the DNA.

For the new study, which was published in the journal mBio in December 2016, Cornell University researchers Rachel Miller and Martin Wiedmann looked at several serotypes of salmonella that encode for cytolethal distending toxin (S-CDT), a virulence component for the serotype responsible for typhoid fever.

The researchers found that four salmonella serotypes that commonly cause foodborne illness also carry the genetic material that encodes S-CDT. Although there are more than 2,500 salmonella serotypes, fewer than 100 are responsible for most of the foodborne illnesses.

With the aid of human cells grown in the laboratory, the researchers also found that the salmonella strains with S-CDT cause hallmark signatures that hint of DNA damage. The researchers explained that this ability to cause DNA damage may result in long-term health consequences.

“The more you expose your body’s cells to DNA damage, the more DNA damage that needs to be repaired, and there may one day be a chance that the DNA damage is not correctly repaired. We don’t really know right now the true permanent damage from these salmonella infections,” Miller said.

Salmonella Bacteria

REHIS Food Hygiene Training Glasgow

Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland hygiene.

Elementary Food Hygiene Courses – 2017




  • Where – Glasgow – Scottish Youth Hostel
  • When – March 15th
    April 25th
    May 17th
  • 9.30am to 5.00 pm
  • Food Hygiene & Safety Important to your business? Book on line now at Click on Calendar and follow instructions
  • Includes teas, coffees REHIS Food Hygiene Handbook and Examination Fee
    £65 for each Delegate.


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REHIS Approved Food Hygiene Training Edinburgh

Check  Course CalendarFood Hygiene training Edinburgh

Book Edinburgh Training Course Today

Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland Elementary Food Hygiene Courses – 2017
Edinburgh – The Eric Liddell Centre

  • March 14th
  • April 4th
  • May 16th
  • Time 9.30am to 5.00 pm
  • Book on line now at Click on Calendar and follow instructions
    Includes teas, coffees REHIS Food Hygiene Handbook and Examination Fee.
    Cost £65 for each Delegate.


REHIS Training Course Inverness

Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland Elementary Food Hygiene Courses – 2017
Inverness – Scottish Youth Hostel

  1. March 16th
  2. April 20th
  3. May 25th

Time 9.30am to 5.00 pm
Book on line now at Click on Calendar and follow instructions
Includes teas, coffees REHIS Food Hygiene Handbook and Examination Fee.
Cost £65 for each Delegate.

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Keeping Your Customers Safe


Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and is considered to be responsible for more than 280,000 cases of food poisoning each year. More than 72,000 of these were confirmed to be campylobacter poisoning (also known as campylobacteriosis) by laboratory reports.

Eight Key Things You Can Do To Today

1.Defrost in the fridge
Place poultry in a covered container on the bottom shelf of the fridge to defrost away from cooked/ready-to-eat foods. Check poultry is fully defrosted before cooking.

2.Never mix raw poultry and cooked food
Keep raw poultry separate from cooked and ready-to-eat food.

3. Avoid cross-contamination
Ensure hands, equipment and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with soap, hot water and appropriate disinfectant after contact with raw poultry or its packaging.

4. Cover and chill
Cover raw poultry and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip on other foods.

5. Check it’s cooked
Poultry should be cooked thoroughly until steaming hot with no pink meat and juices must run clear. Check this at the thickest part. If barbecuing, consider pre-cooking in the oven first, then finish on the barbecue for flavour.

6.Don’t wash raw poultry
Splashing water spreads germs to hands, equipment, surfaces and other foods.

7. Cook marinades
Don’t put sauce or marinade on cooked food if it has already been used with raw poultry

8.Book TBDS REHIS Approved Training
REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene, REHIS Cross-Contamination, HACCP,In House Training Courses

Get involved now Food Standards Scotland

Campylobacter? Salmonella? Danger Christmas Dinners Ahead

More food poisoning cases associated with Christmas  than barbecue season

camplobacter food poisoning


For many, it is the highlight of the Christmas season. Beware! Preparing and eating a turkey dinner can also be one of the most dangerous things you do over the holiday season.

More than ten million turkeys are sold during the festive season and twenty per cent of all food poisoning outbreaks are poultry-related. December’s reports normally outnumbering any other month.

Salmonella and Campylobacter

The two most harmful bacretia than can be  found in all types of poultry are Salmonella and Campylobacter. If not killed by the correct handling and cooking procedures both can cause serious sickness and in some cases long term illness.

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The Truth About Campylobacter

People talking about the real life effects of food poisoning bug known as campylobacter. It’s the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. It can be fatal. Spread the word, not the germs


campylobacter the risks of washing raw chicken.  For Information on Cross Contamination Training Courses througout Scotland please click on this link and visit our web page.


How to wash your hands


How to wash your hands

So we all think we know how to wash our hands. But you can be sure that about 80% of us don’t do it correctly. Very dangerous especially if you are handling food you greatly increase the risk of cross contamination and possible causes of food poisoning to your customers.

Wash your hands in a manner approved for all food handlers

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Campylobacter Contamination Recall

Raw Milk Recalled for Campylobacter Contamination



Raw milk produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County, with a code date of OCT 24, is the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.
The quarantine order followed the confirmed detection of Campylobacter bacteria in raw whole milk.
No illnesses have been reported at this time.

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