Scots urged to tackle 'food poisoning epidemic'

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food poisoning Food safety Food standards agency Foodborne illness

The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) has
urged Scots to improve food hygiene standards to tackle what it
calls the 'annual food poisoning epidemic'.

Although incidents of food poisoning in Scotland have been gradually reducing over the last ten years, provisional figures show that 7,147 cases were reported in 2005 representing an increase of more than 6 per cent compared to the previous year.

Speaking on the eve of National Food Safety Week (12-16 June), REHIS president John Stirling said that food poisoning remains one of the major environmental health issues.

"The 7,147 incidents documented last year represent just the tip of the iceberg,"​ he said. "REHIS estimates that up to ten times as many cases in Scotland are not reported, meaning the true number may be nearer 70,000 an average of almost 200 cases every day.

We all have to remember that food poisoning doesnt just cause severe discomfort - it can lead to serious illness, especially in young children, the elderly and those with existing medical conditions."

He said that legislation has been implemented to ensure that all food businesses observe strict standards for handling and preparing food. Indeed, the elevation of food safety as an issue of the utmost importance in recent years has been reflected in the creation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and various national agencies such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK.

But according to a recent EU project researching ways to make the food supply safer, consumers still have little confidence in the safety of their food supply and remain sceptical and distrustful of the management procedures currently in place.

The implications of the study for countries such as Scotland are that despite an increase in regulations and safeguards over the past five years, public concern remains high and could put further pressure on government to take additional measures.

But what the REHIS hopes to highlight is that, at the same time, people are not taking enough care. While many food safety experts believe that the public has a fairly accurate idea of the risks associated with well-known hazards such as Salmonella and E. coli, they say that the risk associated with the lesser-known microbiological hazards such as Listeria and Campylobacter are underestimated.

This finding is a real cause for concern as Campylobacter in particular is both a common and increasing cause of food poisoning.

The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland represents environmental, community and public health professionals within local government, health services, commerce and industry throughout Scotland.

Related topics Food safety and labeling

Related news

Related products

show more

Sustainable Sweetening Solutions from ADM

Sustainable Sweetening Solutions from ADM

Content provided by ADM | 13-Oct-2023 | Product Brochure

ADM understands sweetness—and sustainable sourcing. Not only do we have the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of sweetening solutions, we also are...

 Four actionable steps to reduce allergen recalls

Four actionable steps to reduce allergen recalls

Content provided by FoodChain ID | 04-Oct-2023 | White Paper

Failing to mitigate allergen risks has serious consequences - not just for consumer safety, poor allergen procedures can also cause financial losses and...

Accelerate your new product development (NPD)

Accelerate your new product development (NPD)

Content provided by FoodChain ID | 02-Oct-2023 | White Paper

Delivering new products to market is a complex process with multiple challenges that results in a failure rate of between 30-40%.

Injection Molding Solutions: Key Considerations

Injection Molding Solutions: Key Considerations

Content provided by Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. | 27-Sep-2023 | Insight Guide

Food and consumer packaged goods (CPG) producers are now facing a number of new challenges and opportunities.

These include the rising adoption...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars