Safety warning over picnicsTake extra care to avoid food poisoning

11 June 2007

Picnics and barbecues must be prepared with extra care over the next few months due to the increased risk of food poisoning, experts warned today.

Illnesses caused by food bugs hit their peak during the summer, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Just under half the UK's 860,000 food poisoning cases recorded in 2005 were between June and September.

Ten ‘invisible’ bugs lurking in food can multiply to 1,000 within six hours, the FSA said.

Salmonella

It is warning people to keep food chilled when travelling by car or taking picnics outside.

Judith Hilton, Head of the FSA's microbiological safety division, said: ‘Picnics should be chilled, particularly if stored in the back seat of a car or in the boot as they are breeding hot-spots for bugs.’

Food poisoning is caused by bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter.

It can strike within as little as two hours of eating the affected product, or remain ‘incubated’ for up to 10 days.

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