This site is intended for health professionals only

UK braced for food poisoning surge

The UK can expect more than 120,000 salmonella and campylobacter food poisoning cases over the coming summer months, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The FSA, which released the figures to mark its GermWatch campaign, is urging householders to pay particular attention to their kitchens and hygiene habits to avoid illness.

Dr Andrew Wadge, the FSA's chief scientist, said: "This is just a snapshot of the two most common food poisoning bugs.

"Despite the picture painted by these statistics, admitting the germs might have come from your own home remains a taboo subject. Whether it's because of the hot weather, undercooked meat on the barbecue or people playing fast and loose with use-by dates, food poisoning shoots up over the summer and could make your mealtime a real horror story."

Dr Wadge said the campaign aimed to dispel myths that food poisoning "only comes from that dodgy takeaway".

Latest figures show the first increase in annual cases of food poisoning since 2000, the FSA said.

Despite this, a recent survey showed three quarters of the public had never heard of campylobacter, and 82% of people thought they were unlikely to get food poisoning at home. Another 89% of people did not store raw meat properly and 63% did not wash their hands after handling raw meat or fish.

Copyright © PA Business 2008