Food safety: ‘Collaboration required from farm to fork’

Two ministers have joined forces in an information campaign underlining the importance of food safety and the “collaboration that is required from farm to fork”.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed and the Minister for Health Simon Harris have come together with agencies, industry, retailers and farmers to launch the campaign aimed at consumers ahead of World Food Safety Day on Friday, June 7.

The theme of World Food Safety Day 2019 is: “Food Safety, Everyone’s Business”.

All actors in the food chain, from farm to table – whether they produce, process, sell or prepare food – have a role in keeping it safe, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Farmers, processors and business operators must adopt good practices to ensure that the potential risks to food safety are properly addressed, the department added.

Launching the campaign, Minister Creed stated: “World Food Safety Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the world class food safety systems that are in place in Ireland.

“Promoting and safeguarding public health is a strategic priority for my department, with over 600 staff members directly involved in food safety and food authenticity controls.

“The Food Safety, and Food Authenticity Strategy, which I launched last year, sets out the vision and objectives that my department, in consultation with regulatory partners, will pursue as the food industry continues to implement Food Wise 2025”.

The minister concluded by noting: “Consumers play a significant role, both by taking appropriate precautions when preparing food and by ensuring that they keep themselves informed about the food they eat.”

Minister Harris said: “Food safety is of paramount importance to the health and well-being of people in Ireland and further afield. A food supply that is adequate in quantity, quality, accessibility and safety is undoubtedly a prerequisite for achieving and maintaining the health of Ireland’s population.

“It is important that Ireland’s good reputation for food safety is maintained, and where possible built on, because every citizen expects and deserves safe and trustworthy food.”

Raw chicken

Dr. Pamela Byrne, chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), underlined this year’s World Food Safety Day message, namely “never wash raw chicken”.

Ray Dolan, CEO of safefood, added: “Washing raw chicken does the complete opposite to cleaning it and can spread food poisoning germs around your kitchen.

Because that spray can reach up to 80cm, or about an arm’s length away from your sink, safefood are reminding people to never wash raw chicken.

“Cooking chicken properly gets rid of all the germs anyway, so washing it doesn’t really do any good. In fact, it might actually cause you some harm.”