ecoli-uk.com

E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome


HUSH Requires Your Help to Make Our Food Safer

9th September 2010

The Food Standard Agency (FSA) is currently running a Consultation entitled 'Reducing the Risk from E.coli 0157: Controlling Cross Contamination'. This consultation closes on 5th October 2010.

As many of you will be aware, the Central Scotland outbreak in Wishaw in 1996 and the South Wales outbreak in 2005 were caused by cooked food that was cross contaminated with equipment or utensils from raw food that contained the bacterium E. coli O157. Both outbreaks resulted in loss of life, serious illness and long term health problems. No doubt, many of you may have had your illness caused this way.

The best possible protection would require complete physical separation between raw and cooked foods during manufacturing, wholesale, retail, catering and domestic levels. This includes preparation areas, equipment, utensils, cleaning facilities, storage facilities, display areas and staff. Large manufacturers commonly implement full spatial separation but others operate a combination of spatial and time separation (with interim cleaning and disinfection).

Vacuum packers, mincers and slicers are notoriously difficult to clean and the infectious dose of E. coli O157 is so low. For these reasons HUSH believe that the only way to protect consumers against the bacterium, is to ensure that businesses do not use the same equipment for raw and cooked foods.

Full information of the consultation can be found on the FSA websites as follows:

England:http://www.food.gov.uk/consultations/consulteng/2010/reducingriskecolio157eng

Scotland:http://www.food.gov.uk/consultations/consultscot/2010/reducingriskecolio157scot

Wales:http://www.food.gov.uk/consultations/consultwales/2010/reducingriskecolio157wales

N.Ireland:http://www.food.gov.uk/consultations/consultni/2010/reducingriskecolio157ni

 

CONSULTATION OPTIONS:

Option 1 Do nothing. Rely on the existing guidance to inform food business operators and enforcers.

Option 2 Publish additional guidance to food business operators and environmental health practitioners on risks of cross-contamination from E. coli O157 and how to prevent them. (This is the FSA's preferred option).

Option 3 Introduce national legislation to ensure complete physical separation between raw and ready to eat foods. (This is HUSH's preferred option).

The FSA has failed to reduce the number the cases of E. coli O157 from food and the number of cases reported was higher in 2009 than when the agency was formed in 2000. We want to send a clear message that HUSH members, their families and friends have had more than enough of this bacterium and other foodborne illnesses. The voluntary guidance (which is the FSA's preferred option in 2 above) whilst useful, is not the complete answer and we believe they should start addressing their responsibility to protect the consumer (after all, this is why they were set up) and ensure that there is effective and enforceable legislation rather than appearing to always look after the interest of the Food Industry.

HUSH has already submitted a response to the consultation on behalf of our members (see: www.ecoli-uk.com) but in order to strengthen our 'voice' we would like NON members of the Charity to participate.

You can download the letter in a pdf (here) or word (here) format and after completing return signed hard copies to HUSH by by 27th September to:

Ishbel Mackinnon,

'Deveron'

17 Durn Road

Portsoy

Aberdeenshire

AB45 2Q

Or e-mail to: hush@ecoli-uk.com

Please ask your family and friends if they would be willing to take part. Remember, one letter equals one vote but one letter signed by 6 people still may only equal one vote.

If you decide to post or send an e-mail response directly to the FSA, please could you let HUSH know so that we can keep a record to ensure the voting recorded by the FSA is correct.

You can read the HUSH consultation response here:

Hush response to Reducing the Risk from E coli O157 - Controlling Cross Contamination 09-09-10.pdf




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