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A new study by the The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is to look into how much foodborne disease in the UK is the result of food preparation and practices in the home.
The CIEH hopes to establish how many cases of food poisoning are caused by poor hygiene practice in the home, compared with those caused by eating out at restaurants and takeaways.
Until now, commercial food operations have been the main focus of attention for environmental health departments around the country. Although domestic kitchens are also recognised as a source of foodborne illnesses, there has been less attention paid to the extent to which poor standards of food preparation and handling contribute to making people ill.
The project will see the CIEH work closely with academic partners and groups of specialists drawn from different fields. The results are expected to be reported in the summer of 2017 and may have important implications for improving food safety in the home.
Campylobacter, for example, is present in nearly 60% of fresh shop-bought chickens and on 6% of outer packaging, according to the Food Standards Agency’s latest figures. The bacteria is the largest single cause of food-borne illness in the UK, with an estimated 280,000 cases resulting in around 110 deaths every year.
Frank Post, CIEH’s Executive Director of Commercial Services, said:“We hope to be able to establish the extent to which the home poses a threat to our health and along the way unearth some valuable insights into poor hygiene practices that go on there.”
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