Note to the mother country: Food safety is not simple

The UK Food Standards Agency continues to set new lows for communicating about food safety issues with the public that pays them to communicate with them.

And the Brits seem to have this obsession with how food safety is simple.

There is an outbreak of Salmonella Agona in the UK and Ireland that has sickened about 80 people of all ages, but predominantly young adults.

In the FSA release, the government agency says, “the source of the outbreak is not yet known” and that “when the Agency has further information or useful advice for consumers in relation to this outbreak it will publish it immediately.”

Fair enough. But FSA then feels it necessary, in some weird paternalistic way, to tell Brits that,

“In the meantime, there are simple measures you can take to reduce the risk of food poisoning … Always follow the manufacturers cooking instructions for food intended to be eaten hot and make sure it is piping hot throughout.”

What if the instructions suck, like with pot pies?

“When eating out, always make sure the hot food you have ordered is served piping hot throughout – don’t be afraid to ask for it to be re-heated."

If food safety is so simple, why are there all these sick people and no identified source? Piping hot is too subjective. And since when does anyone have to ask a Brit to be more assertive? Go to a football match.

Seriously, for the millions of dollars spent on risk communication and food safety, this is the best FSA can do?

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time