, , , , , , , ,

Another ‘shock horror probe scandal mystery puzzler’ health story. Not from the Mail or the Express either. This one is from The Times. I don’t know what’s got into them over there. It’s supposed to be a quality newspaper.

This was a fright story from the Food Standards Agency about just what a death trap the average kitchen is in the UK. Not from the point of view of accidental death, though that room in the house is up the top of the charts just behind the bedroom. No, apparently we’re all sluts and slovens when it comes to hygiene in the kitchen.

Startling fact. Eighty five percent of people keep leftovers in the fridge for more than the recommended 48 hours. Oh my word! Surely not! Well over half the people interviewed would judge whether a foodstuff is ‘off’ by smelling it rather than taking note of the Use By date. I’m glad about this. It shows a great deal of common sense, and moreover fits in with my views, which is always gratifying. See http://wp.me/p2C8Zz-r4.

I might also point out that I’ve seen lettuce and other salads, and fresh fruit such as strawberries, as green and hairy as a very green and hairy thing way before the expiry date.

Thirty four percent don’t wash their hands before and while preparing food. I freely admit that’s gross.

Here’s one to strike fear into the hearts of the stout yeomanry of this sceptered (septic, perhaps) isle. Twenty eight percent of people would eat food that had been dropped on the floor. No kidding? The figure’s that low? I’m amazed. If you doubt me, think how many parents who, when a dummy (errrmmm, pacifier in the US, I think) has been spat out onto the ground, have picked it up, sucked it briefly, and pushed it back into their offspring’s rosebud mouth. We’ve all eaten food that’s been dropped. All of us. No exceptions. Anyone who has been to a barbecue knows the truth of this.

Now it gets into 1984 territory. The FSA will shortly launch a campaign to allow people to photograph the inside of their fridges, tweet them to the FSA, and receive a tweet back giving them advice on better hygiene. Let’s be honest, if you’re a slacker, are you going to bother? No. And if you’re already a hygiene nutjob, you’ll be wasting valuable resources.

The reasoning here is that according to a spokesperson, and I paraphrase here, if you’re a bit lax with the scrubbing, you could poison your friends. Anybody coming round for dinner or a meal would be at risk. Scary stuff. Except of course that their kitchens, if you have the right sort of friends, are just as chaotic as yours is.

There were some rather disturbing statistics to drive this message home. One million cases of food poisoning annually in the UK. Five thousand of those will die. I find that hard to believe, but even assuming it’s true, most cases arise from dodgy takeaways or really poor hygiene in restaurants. They found rat droppings and cockroaches in the kitchens at Claridges not that long ago.

Naah, I’ll take my chances. At least in your own kitchen it’s your own dirt.