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Food Quality and Safety Summit Blog – part 2 EM

Food Quality and Safety Summit Blog – part 2 EM
11/01/2017

Published 5th January 2017

Environmental Monitoring (EM) and food microbiology

Following on from my blog last month, one of the reasons I attended this event was to brush up on my food microbiology. Many moons ago I started my microbiology career testing food samples at a sandwich manufacturer followed by a stint at an old PHLS laboratory doing the same. As interesting as the work was (I still look back at that time with fond memories) I was unsure whether I wanted to pursue food microbiology as a career. I then found a job in Pharma and the rest is history! I have always kept an eye on the goings on in food microbiology. Attending the Food Quality and Safety Summit gave me the chance to learn about some of the hot topics in food microbiology, including the challenges of Environmental Monitoring (EM).

Campylobacter – the importance of education

Paul Morris from Addmaster was talking about the hidden facts about Campylobacter. 80% of Campylobacter food poisoning cases are caused by raw poultry meat, and when you look at the hidden facts it should be of no great surprise. The latest figures from the Food Standards Agency show that 70% of chickens sold have detectable levels of Campylobacter in them. 7% of these have Campylobacter on the outer packaging surface. 63% of people have not even heard of Campylobacter so the importance of educating people about this pathogen is obvious. The importance of proper hand washing and using anti-bacterial packaging were ways of reducing the cases of Campylobacter food poisoning. The final sobering statistics in my notes were that an estimated three people per week die in the UK from it.

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