Food: Hygiene

Health written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to provide information for the public on the importance of washing fruit and vegetables.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

We understand from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which has responsibility for this policy area that as part of its Strategic Plan, the FSA aims to ensure that:

‘Consumers have the information and understanding they need to make informed choices about where and what they eat', with a priority to:

‘improve public awareness and use of messages about good food hygiene practice at home'.

In November 2011, the FSA ran an advertising campaign in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (funded by Devolved Administrations) reminding consumers about the FSA's existing advice to wash raw vegetables to help minimise the risk of food poisoning. Advertising in England was not considered appropriate due to the current restrictions on paid for advertising and marketing, therefore the campaign utilised public relations and social media channels.

The campaign was in response to several outbreaks of E.coli in Great Britain and abroad, including one linked to soil on raw vegetables and another caused by contaminated sprouted seeds.

In addition to this, the FSA publishes specific advice on this subject on NHS Choices (the website that contains Government advice on healthy living) found at:

www.nhs.uk/livewell/homehygiene/pages/how-to-wash-fruit-and-vegetables.aspx

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