Food poisoning is a serious issue

Wednesday, 22 August, 2018

Food poisoning is a serious issue

With an alarming rise of food poisoning outbreaks, this year’s theme for the Australian Food Safety Week will be ‘Food Poisoning — take it seriously!’

The Food Safety Information Council hopes to disseminate food safety information to limit the estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year. Council Chair Rachelle Williams emphasised some of the food poisoning outbreaks to haunt 2018 so far.

“The Listeria outbreak linked to Australian rockmelons earlier this year resulted in 6 tragic deaths and a woman miscarrying, this was followed by a recall of imported frozen vegetables which was linked to 47 Listeria cases and nine deaths in Europe. About 26 people in Australia contracted hepatitis A from imported frozen pomegranates and a woman died in June.”

Held from 10–17 November, the 2018 event particularly aims to educate those who are most at risk, such as pregnant women, the elderly and people with poor immune systems.

Williams is calling for people to submit their stories, either identified or anonymously, about how food poisoning has affected them and their families to help spread food safety messages.

This follows the success of the 2017 Australian Food Safety Week which covered the topic ‘Is it done yet? Use a thermometer for great food, cooked safely every time’. Their media coverage reached an audience of 1,186,076, including: TV community service announcement screened 366 times; three radio announcements aired 4100 times; and a YouTube video reaching an audience of 14 million a month. A survey also found safe cooking temperature knowledge increased by 1%, and knowledge was higher among people who owned thermometers.

“A downloadable package of material for use in Australian Food Safety Week events, including a draft media release, an online quiz and posters will be available in September 2018,” Williams said.

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