Posers: UK holidaymakers warned with prison if they fake food poisoning on holiday

A bout of food poisoning is the preferred excuse for celebrities too hungover to perform (see the celebrity barf section of barfblog.com).

But now, the country whose contributions to international cuisine have been mushy peas and mad cow disease, the country whose regulators say with a straight face to cook meat until it’s piping hot, is now saying that Brits abroad who fake food poisoning on holiday to get compensation will now face jail as tour operators crack down on a multi-million pound con.

I have no idea how true any of this is, and sounds more like company PR, but according to The Sun, travel firm Abta claims cowboy firms are telling holidaymakers that they won’t be prosecuted if they falsely claim to be unwell.

They even bombard returning Brits with cold calls and messages on social media asking to submit sickness compensation claims following their holiday.

In the past 18 months, UK holidaymakers submitted almost 4,000 sickness claims.

That compares to just 114 from Germans and 39 Scandinavians.

But penalties for those found to be lying include a fine, criminal record and potential imprisonment either in the UK or in the destination of their holiday.

Since spring last year, there have been 15 times more illness claims made to travel firm Tui.

It’s after tens of thousands of UK holidaymakers claimed they had got food poisoning while on holiday across the globe.

Abta’s chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Holidaymakers need to understand that making a fraudulent claim will have consequences.

“People tempted to fabricate holiday sickness in order to make a claim should be aware that this is a crime and that they risk ending up in jail either in the UK or abroad.”

A government initiative plans to wipe out rogue companies encouraging Brits to make fake claims.

Last month it emerged the Ministry of Justice had issued six warnings and got six cowboy websites taken down.

Save the poop and get it tested.

There’s a lot of poop in produce

I know there’s lots of serious stuff going on in Washington, where a bunch of food safety suits are playing advocates for whatever lobby they represent – and they all represent a lobby – and a lot of politicians are spinning stuff way beyond what any data suggests, but has anyone noticed, there’s a lot of poop on produce?

Last night, NewStar Fresh Foods  of Salinas, Calif., issued a voluntary recall for fresh cilantro because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Back on July 18, Salmonella Oranienburg was found in both North Carolina and Texas on jalapenos and avacados.

And on July 9, 2008, Lucky Green Trading, Inc. of Garden Grove, CA, recalled its Thai Basil , because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Not the Saintpaul, but still Salmonella.

While the suits are playing armchair quarterback and asking for money, they seem to be completely ignoring the microbiological positives that keep showing up in their product.

At what point will the politicians, crusading under the rubric of food safety, begin to ask, what’s with this don’t test, don’t tell policy?

Cause now that FDA and others are looking, there sure seems to be a lot of poop on produce.

Various suits: Clean up your own backyard before shitting in someone else’s.

And as I’ve written before, when it comes to the safety of the food supply, I generally ignore the chatter from Washington, and I’m increasingly ignoring the chatter from the various usual suspects and hangers on, like academics and others looking to promote their own agenda (many in the food safety world are heading to Columbus, Ohio, for the IAFP meeting and I just really don’t want to be there – and won’t). Will any of this grandstanding actually make food safer? Will fewer people get sick?