Last updated on 17 October 2012
Hygiene reminder following NI E.coli outbreak
The Food Standards Agency is reminding people across the UK of the importance of following good food hygiene practice, and what to do if they go down with food poisoning.
The update is prompted by the current outbreak of E.coli O157 in Belfast. The Food Standards Agency is working closely with the Public Health Agency and other authorities in Northern Ireland on the ongoing investigation into the outbreak.
Information on the current E.coli outbreak can be found at the Public Health Agency link on the right.
Good food hygiene
Practising good hygiene is important, but especially so during an outbreak of food poisoning or where there is infection in the community, as bacteria can spread very quickly through contact.
Good hand and general hygiene is very important to help prevent the spread of infection. You must remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, then dry them before handling any cooked food. You should also always wash and dry your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and poultry, touching the bin, going to the toilet, blowing your nose or touching animals (including pets).
Symptoms of food poisoning
The symptoms of food poisoning usually begin one to three days after eating contaminated food, but for E.coli may be up to seven days before the onset of illness. Symptoms of food poisoning include:
- feeling sick
- stomach cramps
If you have any of these symptoms, you should drink plenty of water to help you recover. In the event of severe symptoms, such as bloody diarrhoea or abdominal pain, consult your GP.
It is also important that people who have food poisoning should be aware of the risks of spreading infection. It's especially important that anyone whose job involves handling or preparing food stays away from work (see link below for guidance).
You can find out more at the links top right.