Chances are that you’ve suffered from a bout of food borne illness (food poisoning) in your time: unpleasant, uncomfortable, but probably mild; possibly resulting in absence from work/ school, possibly a trip to the Doctor or pharmacist?
Occasionally though a serious illness; occasionally leading to death.
The Food Standards Agency estimate that about a million people in the UK suffer from food borne illness each year, and as a result:
- around 200,000 receive hospital treatment; and
- approximately 500 die.
This boils down to odds that are better than those of winning the lottery… Not so mild!
The Food Standards Agency also estimates that foodborne illness costs the economy £1.5 billion each year.
Good food hygiene standards are clearly crucial, which is why we are taking a keen interest in the results of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) across the city.
We’ve mentioned before that whilst most Birmingham based food businesses demonstrate good or very good food hygiene standards, 14% are in need of improvement. We think that inadequate food hygiene is particularly concerning within the care sector and schools. The people who eat the food they prepare generally have little or no choice but to accept what is offered and are likely to have vulnerable or immature immune systems, making them more vulnerable to food borne illness.
We’re pleased to note that all of Birmingham’s hospitals have good
or very good standards of food hygiene. Unfortunately though 4% of nurseries, 2% of schools and 1% of care/ nursing homes do not demonstrate adequate food hygiene. Over the next few months we plan to contact each of these organisations, encouraging them to raise their standards and request a re-inspection.
We’ll keep you informed and look forward to being able to celebrate all of Birmingham’s schools and care establishments having a food hygiene rating of very good!
Photo credits: Salmonella Virus by NIAID