Watch those germs!

PUBLISHED: 13:39 10 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:54 15 June 2010

DON'T play fast and loose with food use by dates that's one of the messages being delivered by the Government to households across East Devon and West Dorset as cases of food poisoning are expected to soar.

DON'T play fast and loose with food use by dates - that's one of the messages being delivered by the Government to households across East Devon and West Dorset as cases of food poisoning are expected to soar.With more than 16,600 cases of salmonella and campylobacter expected to occur in the South West this summer, the Food Standards Agency is warning: "Don't make your mealtime a horror story."It is introducing a new GermWatch campaign character, Grubeye, to drive home killer facts about food poisoning.Latest figures show an increase in cases of food poisoning - the first rise in the UK since 2000.Dr Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency, said: "With enough cases of salmonella and campylobacter to fill Wembley Stadium in just three months for England and Wales, this summer might be pretty unpleasant for some people."Even worse, it could prove fatal for vulnerable groups like the elderly."Admitting the germs might have come from your own homes 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 says he has 'beefed up' the GermWatch campaign after a survey revealed 87 per cent of people living in the South West don't know how to store meat properly. A worrying 68 per cent had never heard of campylobacter, the most common form of food poisoning, and 84 per cent didn't think they would get food poisoning from food prepared at home.The Food Standards Agency is promoting the four Cs - cooking, chilling, cleaning and avoiding cross-contamination.More than 13 people in every thousand are expected to fall victim to food poisoning in the South West this summer.Visit www.food.gov.uk to find out more.


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