UK Gears Up for Food Safety Week

The United Kingdom's annual Food Safety Week will take place next week, June 15-21, with a variety of events taking place across the UK in local councils, community groups, and schools to highlight the importance of food safety and hygiene in the home and promote the four Cs (cooking, cleaning, chilling, and cross-contamination). The focus this year will be on people over 60 and the need for correct storage and handling of food in the home.

The UK's Food Standard Agency says the reason for focusing on this audience is the recent sharp rise in cases of listeria specifically within this age group. The number of cases in the over 60s has doubled since 2001, FSA says, and it causes more deaths each year than salmonella and E. coli O157 combined.

To support the planned events for the week, FSA has produced a range of publicity materials--leaflets, posters, fridge thermometers, a schools booklet, balloons, and stickers--available to UK residents free of charge. FSA notes that resources are available throughout the year, not just for Food Safety Week, so if you are planning to organize an event after Food Safety Week to promote good food hygiene, you can still order posters, leaflets, and other materials by contacting Food Standards Agency Publications at 0845 606 0667 or via e-mail: foodstandards@ecgroup.co.uk.

Among the new materials for this year are four posters: "It Came from the Chopping Board," "Curse of the Uncooked," "Horror of the Unwashed Hands," and "Terror Stalks the Fridge," all done in vivid, horror-movie-grade colors; and an "It Came from the Chopping Board" leaflet. Back by popular demand and appearing in materials again this year on balloons and stickers and in the form of a finger puppet is Grubeye, the star of last year's "GermWatch" campaign. A nasty-looking little creature, Grubeye revels in poor food hygiene and delights in the misfortune of those at risk of food poisoning. Nothing makes Grubeye happier than when people spread germs--maybe you forgot to wash your hands before preparing food, or perhaps you used the same chopping board for raw meat and food that was ready to eat. To see Grubeye in action in previous ads, go to www.eatwell.gov.uk/keepingfoodsafe/germwatch/

"Killer Facts" are another important element in the GermWatch campaign. They warn people about the dangers of poor food hygiene and provide helpful advice so people can fight back against the germs.

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