The results of some very interesting research has just been released by the Food Standards Agency. The study looked at the impact of all cases of Infectious Intestinal Disease (IID), both linked to and not linked to food. It found that there are 17 million cases of IID (approximately 1/4 of the population) and that as a result there are 11 million working days lost. For every reported case there are no less than 147 unreported ones.
The majority of cases were caused by Norovirus and Camplyobacter – both agents that have a low infective dose (about 100 virus particles or bacterial cells are thought to be sufficient for infection) and are commonly spread through cross contamination This supports very well the priorities of the Food Standard Agency’s Foodborne Disease Strategy for 2010-2015 (an earlier post and summarised well here http://www.haccpeurope.com/documents/haccpinterissue3.pdf)
The Food Standards Agency commented that “This study has confirmed that the burden of IID is substantial in the UK. However, a large proportion of the illnesses reported can be prevented by adopting good basic hygiene. The FSA’s advice on preparation and handling of food will help to minimise the risk from bacteria and viruses linked to food.”
For advice on food hygiene audits to verify good food safety and hygiene procedures please do call us now.