Do you like safefood Ireland’s new advert?

The Don’t Take Risks campaign focuses on food hygiene in the domestic kitchen. To help minimise the risks of food poisoning in the home, the  advertising combines dramatic kitchen images and an ominous voiceover with a journey into the microscopic world of food poisoning bacteria to deliver powerful messages to consumers.

Most people think they wash their hands and utensils properly while preparing food and that they cook meat and chicken thoroughly. The truth is, all too often, they don’t. This campaign is a powerful, visual reminder to consumers of the dangers of poor food safety behaviour, as they may often be unaware of how their day to day food preparation habits can cause themselves and others harm.
By following some simple food hygiene practices, consumers can help prevent the spread of food poisoning bacteria around the kitchen.

A recent safefood study recorded the food hygiene practices of 120 participants to look at the way in which people prepare meals in their homes. The participants, who were recruited from throughout the island of Ireland, prepared two meals: a homemade beef burger and a warm chicken salad.

There were two phases of the study:

* phase 1 – conducted in test kitchen and
* phase 2 – conducted in participants’ own homes.

Each phase involved 60 participants and there were equal numbers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

In the test kitchen study, participants were asked to prepare the meals as they would normally at home and swabs were taken at various points in the kitchen and samples were taken of the salad and cooked meat. The swabs and samples were analysed for the presence of raw meat bacteria. Throughout the session, the participants’ food handling practices were observed via web-cams.

In the domestic kitchen study, arrangements were made for the researchers to visit at a suitable time for the participants to prepare the required meals.

Participants’ food handling practices were observed via web-cams. Swabs were taken from four kitchen areas as well as participants’ hands and from samples of the prepared meals to test for the presence of bacteria.

The research findings highlighted real food safety issues in the kitchen relating to food preparation and hygiene, with highly risky behaviours around handwashing, preventing cross-contamination via kitchen utensils such as knives and chopping boards, and inadequate care taken to ensure that the chicken and mince were properly cooked.

For example:
* 84% of people did not wash hands properly after handling raw chicken
* 72% did not properly wash the knife used in preparing raw chicken before reusing it on salad vegetables
* more than a third of what participants considered to be ‘cooked’ beef burgers were contaminated with raw meat bacteria
* more than half of consumers did not thoroughly wash the chopping board used to prepare raw mince before reusing it to prepare salad
* one third of participants still had raw meat bacteria contamination on their hands after preparing the meals.

Safefoods blog

My friend Roy Costa has started blogging, adding his considerable insight into all matters food safety.

Roy says that is a publication of Environ Health Associates that provides insight into public health protection and the fields of environmental health and food safety. The topics covered are multifaceted and deal with many of the less discussed but critical areas of food safety such as industry self control and self regulation, privatization of food safety, the changing paradigms of government agencies and public health protection programs, and the political and economic forces at work behind the scenes driving these changes. In depth analysis is provided on the key threats to public health posed by contamination in the food supply. Foodborne illness outbreaks reported in the media are investigated, we provide commentary on the chain of infection and offer our insights into factors associated with the spread of illness. We provide a compendium of our Food Safety Update newsletter and links to programs developed by Professor Roy E Costa RS, MS, MBA, of the Walt Disney Centers for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Orlando Florida. All comments are his own, based on almost 30 years in the field of food safety and do not reflect the opinions of any entity other than Roy E. Costa. Environ Health Associates, Inc. can be found on the worldwide web at

That’s a mouthful. here’s Roy playing the guitar (middle) in the photo below.