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FSA issues advice on cooking raw meat amidst rise in cases of salmonella

Food safety bodies unite

The Food Standards Agency, the government body tasked with ensuring the safety and validity of food in the UK, has issued renewed advice on cooking raw meat following an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium.

The FSA, Food Standards Scotland, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland have banded together as they investigate a rise in cases of a particular strain of Salmonella Typhimurium which have been linked to lamb and mutton in the UK. An increase in this particular type of salmonella was seen in July 2017 and as such, a number of control measures were put into place which led to a significant decline in cases towards the end of 2017. By May 2018, a total of 118 cases had been reported.

However since June 2018, a further 165 cases have been reported which led the bodies to put control measures in place. However, this unfortunately has not led to an equivocal decline in cases as seen in 2017 and so they are now reminding the public about how to cook and handle raw meat.

Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said: “We are advising care when preparing all meat, including lamb and mutton, to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with Salmonella Typhimurium. Our advice is to purchase food as normal but to take care when storing, handling and cooking raw meat.

People should wash their hands after touching raw meat, avoid contaminating other food in the kitchen by storing it separately in the fridge and using different chopping boards and knives and ensure that meat, particularly diced and minced lamb is cooked properly.”

Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, PHE said: 'The likely cause of the increased numbers of this specific strain of Salmonella Typhimurium is considered to be meat or cross-contamination with meat from affected sheep. People can be infected with Salmonella Typhimurium in a number of ways such as not cooking their meat properly, not washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, or through cross-contamination with other food, surfaces and utensils in the kitchen.'

Advice for members:

Here at NCASS, we’re unequivocally committed to the safety of our members’ businesses. Our Due Diligence system exists for this very reason and if followed stringently, members will be well-placed to avoid problems arising from improperly cooked meat.

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