As thousands of people across Scotland prepare to host summer street parties, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is reminding people who are planning or attending these events to ensure they are following good food safety practices to minimise the chance of food poisoning.
It is estimated that there are 43,000 cases of foodborne illness annually in Scotland. FSS’s latest ‘Our Food in Scotland’ tracker survey revealed many consumers still admit to risky behaviours that can lead to food poisoning, with more than a quarter (28%) of people surveyed not always washing their hands before preparing/cooking food and over a third (36%) not always storing raw and ready-to-eat foods separately.
Dr Jane Horne, Head of Food Protection Science and Surveillance at FSS, says there are simple steps people can take to safely host events.
“Regardless of whether you’re hosting or attending a street party or event this summer, it is important to keep food safety at the forefront of your mind to keep everyone safe. Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to protect ourselves and those around us.
“Our ‘Food Safety at Community Events’ guidance, which can be downloaded from the FSS website, includes several food safety tips to follow when hosting or preparing for an event – especially when catering for larger numbers.
“It’s important to practise good food safety behaviours and following the ‘4Cs’ of food hygiene – cleaning, chilling, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination – will help you and your friends prepare, make and store food safely.”
Practical tips outlined in the guidance to help people planning or attending street parties this summer include:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water before food preparation and consumption and always after handling raw meat/poultry
- Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate
- Do not use food past its use-by date
- Always read any cooking instructions and make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it – it needs to be steaming hot
- Plan ahead to keep your food cool until it’s time to eat. Any foods which you would usually keep in the fridge at home also need to be kept cool for your event. You can use a cool box or bag with ice, frozen gel packs or frozen drinks distributed evenly throughout to help keep your food cold.
- Provide a list of the allergens present in foods for those attending the event.
For more information on how to follow good food safety practices this summer, head to the Food Standards Scotland website and download the guidance: Food Safety at Community Events | Food Standards Scotland