Home cooks hygiene check

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Are you a hygiene machine, kitchen cavalier or a sloppy Joe? That’s what Scottish Borders Council is asking during Food Safety Week.

For this year’s Food Safety Week, (June 10-16), the Food Standard Agency has created ‘kitchen check’ to help people assess food safety behaviours in their own home kitchens.

The kitchen check questionnaire sorts cooks into one of three categories: hygiene machine for those who are doing the right things and staying safe; kitchen cavalier for those who could improve their hygiene practices; and sloppy Joe for those putting themselves and those they cook for at risk.

Susan Napier, technical officer (food safety), said: “The food related illnesses people may suffer as a result of unhygienic food handling practices in their kitchens can range in severity from ‘a sore tummy’ for a day or two, to severe, debilitating diarrhoea and/or sickness.

“Although most people think of Environmental Health Food Officers as inspectors of commercial food businesses, we also have an advisory and educational role which is aimed at non-professional food handlers – the person who cooks at home.”

The food officers’ educational remit covers high level courses for professional food handlers to time in the classroom, teaching children the importance of good hygienic practices in general and good hand hygiene in particular.

Environmental health food officers and the community infection control nurse recently spent the day showing P5 children how well or badly they washed their hands using specially designed equipment.