We got ‘street cred’ say UK food safety types, like Pat Boone got rock and roll

There’s no shortage of communication weirdness out of the U.K. Food Standards Authority – home of the ‘piping hot’ food test.

In response to the latest European food survey (which is meaningless but nevertheless found that British respondents were less worried about pesticides, food poisoning, and hormones than their European counterparts, but were most concerned about the welfare of farmed animals and the quality and freshness of food) Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at FSA, said,

“I’m delighted that we Brits keep our stiff upper lip when faced with food scares and have a positive attitude to what we eat. I think we’re right not to worry unnecessarily about food safety threats as there are lots of checks in place to keep food safe. On the other hand it’s important not to be complacent, and there are simple steps people can take to prevent food poisoning such as not eating food past its use by date, not washing poultry – as the bacteria can spread round the kitchen – and always making sure that they cook food thoroughly.”

I’m sure such words were comforting to Sharon Mills as the inquest into her 5-year-old son’s food poisoning death opens today in Newport, Wales. Stiff upper lip, mom.

Then yesterday FSA boasted – gangsta style — it had funded a cooking-challenge TV show with ‘street-cred’ to turn up the heat on food safety.

“In addition to the focus on local ingredients, the show incorporates Agency food safety messages and nutrition advice. … Short 15,10 and 5 second films that subtly convey the Food Standards Agency’s 4Cs messages on chilling, cooking, cleaning and cross-contamination are also shown at the beginning and culinary delights, combining food safety messages with an appetising menu, including local produce.”

During the cook-off, the street market chefs are each given local ingredients for use in their two courses.

I’d want to know how those local ingredients were grown – source food from safe sources is the missing tip.

FSA director of communications, Terrence Collis said,

“Street Market Chefs is not only tremendous entertainment but also pretty informative. Healthy eating and food safety advice is skilfully woven into the program so the viewer never thinks they’re being nagged or got at, while best practice is there for all to see. ‘The chefs prepare carefully balanced meals and make sure they handle, store and cook the food properly. You’ll never get undercooked chicken on Street Market Chefs.”

Will it be piping hot or verified safe with a thermometer? How does comms Terry know the show is informative and skillfully presents advice? Did he ask anyone?

FSA street cred is like saying Pat Boone was doing rock and roll by covering Tutti Frutti.