Reported instances of campylobacter food poisoning in men is about 20% higher than in women, claimed the FSS, with overall cases rising 60% between mid-May and August compared to the rest of the year.
Launched today (June 30), the new campaign aimed to reduce barbecue-related food poisoning and is targeted at men – often the main cooks when people barbecue.
FSS’s head of food safety science Dr Jacqui McElhiney said: “Despite our unpredictable weather, summer is a time to enjoy ourselves and barbecues are a big part of this. However, we do see a dramatic rise in the number of cases of campylobacter poisoning across Scotland at this time of year.
‘Biggest cause of food poisoning’
“Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in Scotland so to enjoy chicken safely, it’s vital that everyone follows good hygiene and cooking practice.”
The campaign sees the return of the ‘Pink Chicken’ character, which will feature on social media, digital and outdoor advertising (see below) to highlight the risks associated with unsafe cooking practises on the barbecue.
Consumers barbecuing chicken were advised to make sure that there’s no pink meat, the juices run clear and it’s cooked to 75°C. Separate tongs, utensils and plates for raw and cooked chicken should be used and cooks should regularly wash their hands.
5,300 reported campylobacter cases
Campylobacter is the leading cause of food poisoning in Scotland and is most commonly found on raw chicken. There were about 5,300 reported campylobacter cases in Scotland last year.
Meanwhile, poultry processors’ and retailers’ investments in curbing campylobacter were paying off, claimed the Food Standards Agency (FSA), after its latest survey revealed levels of contamination in chicken had fallen.
Figures from the FSA found that, on average, 6.5% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of campylobacter contamination, down from 9.3% last year.