Did you know that there are an estimated one million cases of foodborne illness each year in the UK? Resulting in 200,000 hospital admissions, 500 deaths and costing an estimated £1.9 billion according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA)?
Foodborne illness is caused by food which has been contaminated with bacteria or viruses and food safety in the home is a key focus of the FSA’s Foodborne Disease Strategy for 2010-2015.
Researchers led by Dr Wendy Wills, Reader in Food and Public Health at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC) have investigated domestic kitchen practices and published a report on behalf of the FSA.
The new report, called Kitchen Life, offers detailed insights for the first time into what people actually do and why in UK kitchens, and will help to develop thinking about how to reduce the burden of foodborne disease.
New insights from the report into how kitchen space is used highlights potential pathways which might lead to food contamination. Today’s kitchens are very busy areas with many activities taking place that have little to do with food preparation or eating – activities such as pet care, school and office work, gardening and bicycle repairs. These various activities combined with varied cleaning practices potentially lead to food safety and cross-contamination issues.
This close up examination of actual practices in UK kitchens presents an opportunity for fresh or renewed thinking about food safety policy – supporting the FSA’s communication for effective food safety in the home.